Fennel is available in Australia between February and September.  Fennel can be eaten raw or cooked, and is said to clean the palate and aid digestion.  It tastes slightly like aniseed, its flavour mellows with cooking.

As with most vegetables, fennel is a good source of fibre, and low in fat.  Fennel provides lots of vitamin C, lots of folate, some iron, and the feathery tops provide lots of vitamin A.  Folate is one of the B vitamins and is found in most green vegetables.  It is essential for proper functioning of the brain and nervous system, and necessary for the reproduction of body cells and growth.

To use raw, trim the base of the fennel bulb, separate the stalks and trim off the feathery leaves.  Wash thoroughly.  Refresh in cold water to improve crispness if necessary.  Slice very finely.  For a refreshing salad mix with spinach leaves, segments of three oranges, finely sliced celery, a splash of olive oil, red wine vinegar, a squeeze of orange juice, and small black pitted olives if desired.

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