Hi. I’m so glad you’ve dropped by because people get some funny ideas about my family and I’d like to put the record straight. Did you know that the Romans believed that snakes sucked our juice in order to improve their eye sight; that the Greeks believed we were a slimming aid and gave us the name marathron meaning to ‘grow thin’; and that during the Middle Ages our seeds were chewed in church because it was thought they would prevent tummy rumbles from hunger pangs during long services? It’s amazing what some people will come up with! Anyway I’m glad of the chance to put you right.
For a start, I’m a roundish, bulbous vegetable, about 8-12cm in diameter, with a mild licorice smell and taste. My large swollen base consists of several overlapping broad stems, forming a white to very pale green-white, firm, crisp bulb. When we’re cut you can see the layers of our overlapping stems.
Did you know?
Why Fennel is Good To Eat
How They are Grown and Harvested
We grow easily from seed and are generally planted in early Spring. We’re a tall plant growing to nearly 2 metres, with fine, green, feathery leaves and a small bulb at the base of the plant. Our leaves are used as a flavouring and our bulb is used as a vegetable. We’re harvested when we’re mature by cutting our base from the roots just below our bulb.
In Australia the non-bulbous form has become a major weed along roads and train lines.
How to Keep Fennel
Prime Growing Areas
History of Fennel
The Anglo Saxons also used us as food and medicine. To them we were a sacred plant, being one of nine herbs revered in early times.
It was not until the Middle Ages, though, that Italians, driven by famine, first used us in cooking.
Some of our seed was brought out with the First Fleet in 1788, but what happened to it no one knows. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that our popularity increased in Australia due to the immigration of southern Europeans.
Fun Ways to Eat and Cook Fennel
Boil, bake, steam, stir-fry or microwave until tender, 7-8 minutes depending on size and quantity. Tops and bases should be trimmed before use and hard cores removed. Remove outside leaves if they are very tough. The feathery tops can be used as a garnish and fennel seeds can be used for extra flavour.
Here are some fun fennel recipes to try:
Fennel And Apple Soup
Mini Fennel And Prawn Spring Rolls
|Home | About Us | Fruit | Vegetable | Teacher | Recipes | Kids Games | Kids Activities | Canteen Info | Events & Promotion | Search|