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The root vegetable is pale green in colour and bittersweet in taste
Surprisingly, fennel contains double the amount of vitamin C than oranges, and also a whole host of nutrients. It’s a real treat for anise-lovers.
Fennel; you either love it or hate it. Its unique flavour is not to everybody’s taste but those who love it, really love it. The white bulb with its green stems resembles anise in its flavour and is both bitter and sweet at the same time. Its characteristic taste makes it a great element to combine with many foods such as fish, pasta or citrus fruits.
When buying fennel in a supermarket, the bulb should have white leaves as well as fresh, green stalks. Brown spots or dry patches are indicative of a late harvest. Although it does not appear to be delicate, the root vegetable is in fact quite sensitive to pressure – you should therefore take care when transporting and storing it.
|Calories||23 kcal per 100g|
|Nutrients||2.3g carbohydrate, 3.3g fibre, 0.3g fat, 1.1g protein per 100g|
|Season||June - October|
|Storage||vegetable drawer of refrigerator|
|Shelf life||1-2 weeks|
Fennel originated in the Mediterranean Region and has been spread throughout the rest of Europe since the Middle Ages. Nowadays, fennel is cultivated around the world. The fennel season in Central Europe is usually between June and October. In warmer climates like southern Spain, Italy and France, the vegetable can be found all year round.
There is a wide selection of fennel-related recipes and this is largely because the vegetable can be prepared in a variety of ways. First, always make sure to wash the bulb well to avoid any clay remaining between the leaves. The green stalks can be cut off and either used as decoration or to season a salad dressing or sauce. The fine leaves are similar to dill both in appearance and taste.
The bulb can then be quartered and the core removed. Now you’re ready to cut the fennel into cubes or slices – the latter is particularly well suited to a raw salad with orange pieces and a dressing made from yoghurt, oil and honey.
Aside from being enjoyed raw, fennel can also be boiled, stewed, blanched, grilled or made into a gratin. Whether in a vegetarian dish, alongside fish, or accompanying white meat, fennel suits a wide variety of recipes and really brings the flavour together.
Even for those who are not particularly excited by the flavour of fennel, it is still worth eating for its valuable contents. The root vegetable has hardly any calories or carbohydrates because of its high water content, making it a very healthy alternative to other vegetables. In addition to this, it delivers more vitamin C than citrus fruit and contains folic acid, calcium, phosphorous and magnesium, as well as vitamins A and E.
It is because of fennel’s impressive nutritional value that it has been used as a medicinal plant for centuries. In particular, fennel seeds contain essential oils that can be extracted in tea to relieve coughing or an itchy throat, as well as gastrointestinal problems.
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