Fennel, a member of the carrot family, is native to the shores of the Mediterranean and has spread to many parts of the world. It is considered invasive on California's coast.
It has a licorice anise type flavor and is the main ingredient in absinthe. The vegetable we grow and you'll find In your box this week is a bulbed cultivar of fennel known as Florence fennel or finocchio.
The name for fennel is derived from the Latin word feniculum which means hay. The Greek name is marathon. Marathon is the site of a famous battle and translates to a plain of fennel. According to Greek mythology Fennel was gifted to Pheidippides the runner as a thank you for delivering the news of the Persian invasion into Sparta.
You can eat the pollen, seeds, stalks, bulb and leaves of the fennel plant. In India and Pakistan fennel seeds are paired with sugar coated fennel seeds and served as an after meal snack and digestive called mukhwas. Fennel seed is also an essential addition to many Indian and Chinese seasonings including Chinese 5 spice. In Syria and Lebanon young fennel leaves are combined with egg, onion and flour to make an omelette called ijjeh.
The fennel bulb makes a great salad addition and can be braised, grilled, sautéed and blanched. In Spain the stems are used in the pickled eggplant dish called berenjenas de almagro.
A sprinkling of powdered fennel is used in kennels and stables to deter fleas from pets.
Store your fennel bulb in the refrigerator crisper for maximum freshness!
IN THIS WEEK'S BOUQUET:
- snap dragons
- scabiosa stellata
- flowering ammis
- flowering kale
IN THIS WEEK'S BOX:
- red choi
- slicing tomatoes
- cherry tomatoes