When we started growing fennel and including it in our boxes, customers where a bit unsure of this weird looking, liquorish smelling, white bulb. But once they had a go at cooking it and discovered its sweat flavor and crunchy texture, it became one of our most requested veggies!
Stem fennel grows wild throughout the Illawarra and is quite rightly classified as a noxious weed. Although this is edible (as our long-term volunteer Peter always insists), this is not the type that we intentionally cultivate for our customers.
Instead, we grow Florence fennel, which has been cultivated for its swollen stem or ‘bulb’ and has a sweetness that wild fennel lacks. Sometimes called ‘Aniseed bulb’ Florence fennel shares an unmistakable flavor with liquorish.
As the weather warms up into spring, fennel tends to bolt to seed. We don’t mind this though, as studies have shown that fennel flowers are among the best attracters of beneficial insects that predate on the white-fly, aphid and cabbage moth that often infest the brassicas.
We’ve started harvesting fennel younger, and bunching it up as baby fennel, after some of the chefs we worked with gave us the tip that this the younger fennel is much sweeter and easier for those who aren’t used to its intense flavor to get into.
Fennel can be sautéed as side dish, roasted up, or shredded into a salad. And don’t discard the leaves! They are similar to dill in appearance but are much brighter green and stronger in flavor. In the Middle East, fennel leaves are often used in egg-based omelets, and in some areas of India they are used as a leafy vegetable and cooked up in a curry or inside a hot bread.
Green Connect Farm Manager
In your box:
Note: We sometimes need to make changes to what we pack in your veg box based on the quantity and quality of fruit and veg that we can harvest and source. If you have any questions about what is in your veg box, don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected].
Did you know?
Fennel hails from the same family as carrot & celery but it has a surprising licoricey flavour. They are high in fibre, potassium and vitamin C and are a well-known natural remedy for indigestion. you can store these bulbs in your fridge for up to 5 days but note that the flavour gets milder the longer it’s stored. Everything on a fennel is edible although most cooking recipes will focus on the bulb.
You can find all of our recipes here!