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sweet fennel

 

Synonym: Florence fennel

Botanical name: Foeniculum vulgare ssp. vulgare var. azoricum


Fenchel

 

Wild-growing sweet fennel and its positive effects have been known since ancient times. Fennel is native to the Mediterranean region. Today it is cultivated worldwide as sweet fennel. It requires a relatively warm climate to grow.


Availability


In Germany fennel can be bought all year, but it is especially abundant from July to November. Domestic produce is available in September and October.


Appearance, taste, characteristics


The part of the fennel plant that we eat is a so-called sham-tuber or -bulb. On this white-to-greenish bulb grow the stalks and a green herb that resembles dill. Fennel has a very characteristic, dominant flavour. It tastes like anis and dill with a slightly sweet note.


Ingredients


Fennel is characterized by numerous important ingredients. It contains in particular appreciable amounts of vitamin C, as well as of provitamin A (beta-carotene). The typical aroma and taste of fennel are due to an essential oil, oleum foeniculi.

100 g of fennel contain:

Fennel,
fresh
Fennel,
cooked
Energie (kcal)
25
22
Wasser (g)
88
90
Eiweiß (g)
2
2
Fett (g)
< 1
< 1
Kohlenhydrate (g)
3
2
Ballaststoffe (g)
4
4
Vitamin C (mg)
93
47
Vitamin A (RÄ) (µg)
783
789
Carotin (mg)
4,7
4,7
Folsäure (µg)
100
56
Kalium (mg)
494
276
Natrium (mg)
86
73
Calcium (mg)
109
116
Magnesium (mg)
49
32
Eisen (mg)
2,7
2,3



Harmful substances


The nitrate content of fennel is quite high at 1000–4000 mg per kilogram. Fennel may contain up to 10 mg of oxalic acid per 100 g.


Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions


When buying fennel look for crisp stalk ends that are not discoloured and bright green leaves. The colour of the bulb should be unblemished; i.e., there should be no brown spots or bruises. Wrapped in cling film, fennel will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.


Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation


Fennel can be eaten raw, cooked or steamed.

Wash it and remove the root end as well as the stalk ends and the greens. The outer, frequently dry layer should also be removed. Cut out any brown spots. You may need to wash the fennel a second time, as sand can collect between the layers. Fennel is good as an appetizer or on bread with butter.

The leaves can be used to season sauces, herb butter or fish and meat dishes. Cooked, steamed or braised, fennel is a suitable vegetable accompaniment to many dishes. It is delicious filled or gratinéed with cheese. After it has been blanched, fennel can be frozen. In the supermarket fennel can also be found in tins or jars.


Seasoning tip


Lemon juice, pepper, nutmeg, chives and parsley all taste good with fennel.


Miscellaneous


In addition to sweet fennel, there is Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce, a variety from which only the seeds are used, for example, to make tea, fennel lozenges and spirits.

 

 

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