Herbal History Herbal History
Herbs for Beginners Cooking with Herbs

Garden Herbs


Fennel (Fæniculum officinale).—A hardy perennial which has been naturalized in some parts of this country. It is grown in gardens to furnish a supply of its elegant feathery foliage for garnishing and for use in fish sauces. Occasionally the stems are blanched and eaten in the same way as Celery, and in the natural state they are boiled as a vegetable. The seeds are also employed for flavoring. Sow in drills in April and May, and thin the plants to fifteen inches apart.

Finocchio, or Florence Fennel (Fæniculum dulce, DC).—A sweet-tasting herb, very

largely grown in the south of Italy, where it is eaten both in the natural state and when boiled. Sow in the open ground during spring or early summer, in rows about eighteen inches apart, and thin or transplant to six or nine inches. When the base begins to swell, earth up the plants in the same manner as Celery. If transplanted, pinch off the tips of the roots.
It has a thick, perennial root-stock, stout stems, 4 to 5 feet or more in height, erect and cylindrical, bright green and so smooth as to seem polished, much branched bearing leaves cut into the very finest of segments. The bright golden flowers, produced in large, flat terminal umbels, with from thirteen to twenty rays, are in bloom in July and August. The odor of Fennel seed is fragrant, its taste, warm, sweet and agreeably aromatic.

Fennel is composed of a white or pale green bulb from which closely superimposed stalks are arranged. The stalks are topped with feathery green leaves near which flowers grow and produce fennel seeds. The bulbs, stalks, leaves and seeds are all edible. Fennel belongs to the Umbellifereae family and is therefore closely related to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander.

Fennel will thrive anywhere, and a plantation will last for years. It is easily propagated by seeds, sown early in April in ordinary soil. It likes plenty of sun and is adapted to dry and sunny situations, not needing heavily manured ground, though it will yield more on rich stiff soil.

There are several varieties of Fennel fruit known as Roman Fennel, German or Saxon Fennel, wild or bitter Fennel, Galician Russian and Roumanian Fennel, Indian, Persian and Japanese. The fruits vary very much in length, breadth, taste and other characters, and are of very different commercial value.

Fennel seed is used in the food and flavor industry for addition to meats, vegetable products, fish sauces, soups, salad dressings, stews, breads, pastries, teas, and alcoholic beverages. Crushed seed has been used as a substitute for juniper in flavoring gin. The essential oil and the oleoresin of fennel are used in condiments, soaps, creams, perfumes, and liqueurs. Several types of fennel differing in morphology and leaf color are available for ornamental use and as a fresh vegetable.

Toasting Fennel Seeds accentuates their flavor. Fennel Seed added to meatballs or meat loaf gives an authentic Italian flavor. Saute Fennel Seed with sliced peppers, onion, and sausage for a quick pasta sauce.

In mediaeval times, Fennel was employed, together with St. John's Wort and other herbs, as a preventative of witchcraft and other evil influences, being hung over doors on Midsummer's Eve to warn off evil spirits. It was likewise eaten as a condiment to the salt fish so much consumed by our forefathers during Lent. Like several other umbelliferae, it is carminative.

Culinary Oils and Vinegars

Garden Herbs

  History of Herbs
  Herb Gardening
  Herbs for Beginners
  Drying & Preserving Herbs
  Indoor Herb Gardening
  Herb Garden Hints & Tips

Herbal Cooking

  Herb Chart
  Using Herbs
  Culinary Herbs
  Herb Oil and Vinegar
  Herb Teas
  Herb Candy
  Herb Jelly

Herb Simples

  Alphabetical Listing

Trade Recipes Online
Share your Recipes with others!!



Copyright 2005- Garden Herbs