Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Everything you ever wanted to know about Fennel!!

  • Fennel is crunchy and slightly sweet, adding a refreshing contribution to the ever popular Mediterranean cuisine. The stalks are topped with feathery green leaves near which flowers grow and produce fennel seeds. The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds are all edible. Fennel belongs to the Umbellifereae family and is therefore closely related to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander.
  • Like many of its fellow spices, fennel contains its own unique combination of phytonutrients-including the flavonoids rutin,quercitin, and various kaempferol glycosides-that give it strong antioxidant activity.
  • In addition to its unusual phytonutrients, fennel bulb is an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C found in fennel bulb is antimicrobial and is also needed for the proper function of the immune system.
  • Fennel is a versatile vegetable that plays an important role in the food culture of many European nations. Its esteemed reputation dates back to the earliest times. Greek myths state that fennel was used to carry the coal that passed down knowledge from the gods to men.
  • Good quality fennel will have bulbs that are clean, firm and solid, without signs of splitting, bruising or spotting. The bulbs should be whitish or pale green in color. Both the stalks and the leaves should be green in color. Fresh fennel should have a fragrant aroma, smelling subtly of licorice or anise.
  • Store fresh fennel in the refrigerator crisper, where it should keep fresh for about a week.

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