Where does fennel come from ?
In the 13th century, the word “fennel” first entered in the English language. The word fennel originates from the Latin word foeniculum, which meaning “little hay.” It was initially used to describe a scented grass with insect repellent properties.
Fennel is commonly referred to as “anise” or “dill.” This misunderstanding may be found in many languages and stems from the similarities in shape and function between these three Apiaceae species. Only fennel, however, is utilized as a vegetable.
Fennel has been consumed throughout southern Europe and Asia Minor since ancient times, where it still grows wild on stony and arid terrain. It was popular among the Greeks and Romans after being cultivated by the Egyptians. It was employed by the latter for its medical powers, particularly as an antidote to scorpion stings, snake bites, and dog bites. The complex symbolism that surrounds this plant allows us to assess the significance it has acquired over time. As a result, worshipers of the deity Sabazios in ancient Phrygia ornamented them during ceremonial rites.
Humans were given knowledge of Olympus via a hot coal hidden in a fennel stalk, according to Greek mythology. Finally, it was one of the nine sacred plants used by the old Anglo-Saxons to combat the nine probable causes of sickness.
However, the fennel bulb as we know it now (which is more of a bulge at the base of the stem than a bulb) does not occur in the wild. It is the result of a lengthy selection process carried out by the Italians, most likely in Sicily, where it is used in a variety of traditional meals. This subspecies (F. vulgare var. Azoricum) was solely grown in the Mediterranean region until recently. Because the plant is photoperiod sensitive, it easily went to seed in northern latitudes. After types were chosen to endure the longer days of northern summers in the 1970s, the situation altered.
Its culture has now extended throughout the United States, Northern Europe, and the United Kingdom. Italy continues to be the country where the most is eaten, produced, and exported.
What is theNutritional and caloric values of fennel ?
It is a low-calorie vegetable that is high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The latter, especially when the fennel is roasted, is very well tolerated by the most sensitive intestines.
Fennel has a somewhat greater protein content than other fresh vegetables, but has a relatively high carbohydrate load.
It is distinguished by a high vitamin content.
Vitamin C, beta-carotene (provitamin A), and a high quantity of vitamin B9 are all present (or folic acid )
Iron, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium are among the minerals and trace elements found in it.
Its fibers are plentiful and mostly made up of celluloses, hemicelluloses, and pectic compounds.
Nutritional and caloric values of fennel
For 100 g of raw fennel:
|Name of constituents||Unity||Average content|
|Saturated FA(fat acid)||g||–|
|Vitamin E activity (alpha-tocopherol)||mg||–|
|Vitamin B1 or Thiamine||mg||0.01|
|Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin||mg||0.032|
|Vitamin B3 or PP or Niacin||mg||1.56733|
|Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic acid||mg||0.225|
|Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine||mg||0.079|
|Vitamin B9 or Total Folate||µg||149|
What are the virtues of fennel?
From July through October, fennel is especially delicious.
Every day, the National Health Nutrition Program suggests eating at least 5 servings (80 g minimum) of fruit or vegetables, according to the National Health Nutrition Program. A serving of vegetable is equal to a little bulb of fennel or a half-bulb of good size.
Vitamins, antioxidant chemicals, and fibre found in fruits and vegetables all play an important part in maintaining good health. A high intake of vegetables and fruits has been demonstrated in several studies to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other disorders.
From the early days of pregnancy, vitamin B9 (folic acid) plays an important function in the development of the fetus in pregnant women. It would help to avoid problems in neural tube development in particular.
Finally, the concomitant presence of vitamin C promotes iron absorption from fennel.
High in antioxidants
Fennel is high in antioxidants, which may protect bodily cells from free radical damage. The latter are highly reactive molecules that are thought to have a role in the development of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other age-related disorders.
Because of its high water content and low fat content, fennel has a low calorie count. As a result, it is a valuable ally during periods of weight reduction.
It will promote intestinal transit because it is high in fiber. It also helps with digestion, especially when taken as an infusion. It aids in the treatment of aerophagia and stomach pains.
Anti-inflammatory molecule source
Polyacetylenes are bioactive chemicals found in fennel that have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, as well as the ability to stop cancer cells from multiplying.
Folic acid comes from a variety of sources.
Fennel is high in B vitamins, particularly vitamin B9, which helps the fetus develop properly during pregnancy.
Fennel might be the cause of an oral allergy syndrome, which is an allergic reaction to plant proteins.
Some persons who are allergic to pollen may be affected by this occurrence. Following the eating of the offending meal, itching and burning feelings arise in the mouth, lips, and throat. Symptoms might fade away in a matter of minutes. However, you should see your doctor, who can refer you to an allergist, to evaluate the source of the response and any preventative precautions that should be taken.
How can I choose the perfect fennel and care for it properly?
Fennel is often found from June through the end of the winter. The bulb should be white or light green, solid, and free of yellowish or woody streaks, with a nice licorice or anise aroma. Choose little bulbs instead of huge ones since they are much gentler. When present, the leaves should be quite green and fresh.
Three fennel types dominate the market out of the 10 available:
Sweet: the base is inflated, and the petioles are thick and white.
Bitter: its extremely green petioles emerge from the bulb's base;
Florence fennel or Finocchio: unlike the other two, this one is grown just for its bulb since its flavor is lighter and sweeter. It is the one that is most commonly found in marketplaces.
how to maintain it ?
A few days in an airtight jar in the refrigerator. Consume it as soon as possible because it quickly loses taste.
Slice it and blanch it for 5 minutes in the freezer. Before freezing, rinse it under cold water and thoroughly drain it. Avoid freezing it for too long, since this can cause it to lose flavor.
How to cook fennel ?
The seeds and leaves are eaten raw, but how do you prepare the bulb?
Before you cook the fennel, make sure it's ready.
Fennel is available from May to November and is a simple vegetable to cook.
To cook fennel, pick it carefully.
**Check for the following characteristics in your fennel:
Its plume must be very green and devoid of any alterations;
It should have a white, solid, and substantial bulb.
Its anise fragrance must be rather strong.
**Before you cook the fennel, make sure it's clean.
Cleaning fennel is a breeze.
Fill a basin halfway with cold water and set aside.
Toss in a few drops of white vinegar.
Soak the fennel bulbs for a few minutes in it.
In a colander, place the fennel.
**Fennel should be cut before cooking.
It couldn't be simpler:
shorten the stems' base: only preserve the coldest part; remove the somewhat damaged sections of the bulb with a tiny knife; cut the fennel into thin slices or small cubes, depending on your preferences. The little fennels, on the other hand, don't need to be pruned!
Good to know: the fennel bulb may be hollowed out and used as a miniature pot. Simply boil the recovered meat as desired, then return it in the bulb that has been hollowed out in a saucepan.
**Fennel should be steamed.
This method of preparation maintains the most vitamins and minerals in fennel.
Fill the bottom of your pressure cooker with half a liter of water.
Fill the steamer basket halfway with fennel.
In the pressure cooker, place the steamer basket.
Replace the lid on the pressure cooker.
Place a heat source near the pressure cooker.
Cook for 15 minutes as soon as the valve is engaged.
Remove the lid from the pressure cooker.
Remove the steamer basket right away so the fennel doesn't continue to cook.
Tip: If you have big chunks of steamed fennel, sprinkle them with olive oil and brown them in an oven set to 180° C for around 5 minutes.
**Cook the fennel in the traditional English method.
Fennel becomes ultra-tender after cooked in water.
Fill a saucepan halfway with cold water and set aside.
Toss in a dehydrated broth cube, spices, salt, and pepper to taste.
Fennel can be dipped whole or in bits.
Place the pan over a source of heat.
After the water has been brought to a boil, cook for around 15 minutes.
In a colander, drain the fennel.
Allow it to drain.
Warm in a vinaigrette sauce or served hot with a sauce or a pat of butter.
Some recipes with fennel
**Salads with red pepper, sweet onion, and lemon zest; potatoes and homemade mayonnaise; chicory and avocado; a raw peeled orange and thin prosciutto slices, or watercress;
**It makes a fantastic beginning or an appropriate addition to roast meats when sautéed in olive oil and simply seasoned with black pepper and salt.
**It goes well with couscous or tagines. Some people, however, like to cook it and offer it on the side because of its powerful flavor.
**Served in a compote. Fennel and onions should be chopped in equal amounts. In a large skillet, brown the onions in olive oil, then add the fennel, a little water, paprika, salt, and pepper to taste. Cover and cook for 20 minutes on low heat.
**Ember. One of the greatest methods to try it is in this manner. Quarter the bulb and cook it in olive oil until it turns a gorgeous golden color. Reduce the liquid by half by adding vegetable or chicken broth. If desired, peel an orange and slice it thinly before garnishing with fennel. You may also braise it, then top it with Parmesan and brown it under the grill for a few minutes.
**Soup with fish. In bouillabaisse and fish soups in general, fennel is a must-have component.
**Soup made with squash. Preheat the oven to 350°F and roast the squash and garlic until soft. Cook for about 15 minutes after sautéing the chopped onion and fennel in oil, then adding the broth and squash. Add the ground cumin, fennel, and coriander seeds, mix until smooth, and serve with a tablespoon or two of yogurt on top;
**oven-roasted potatoes and fennel. Slice the fennel and onion and dice the potatoes. Toss the veggies in the olive oil, ensuring sure they are completely covered. Add the chopped parsley, salt, and pepper, and bake in a single layer on a baking sheet at 240° C. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
**Risotto. Season with freshly grated nutmeg after browning the chopped onion and fennel in butter. Cook for 10 minutes, then whisk in the arborio rice to coat the grains with butter. Pour hot broth into the mixture in a slow, steady stream, as you would for risotto. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese towards the conclusion of the cooking process;
**Casserole with tomatoes and fennel. Chop an onion and cook it in oil for ten minutes. Cook for 10 minutes after adding the fennel slices. Tomatoes and black olives, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped Allow for a 10-minute reduction before seasoning with thyme and basil.
**Fillet of fish In a skillet, sauté the onion and fennel, then add the garlic, lemon juice, and white wine. Cook for a couple of minutes before adding the fish and smashed tomatoes. Cook, covered, until the fish is done. Remove the fish from the pan, decrease the preparation, and cover it with it;
**Fennel with beans or flageolets Fennel and onion should be chopped and sautéed in oil until soft, then add canned flageolet beans or beans, tomatoes, and a little water. Heat and serve with thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, and parsley, as well as salt and pepper.
**It's made using sardines and pasta in Sicily. Brown the chopped onion, then add the diced fennel, garlic, and sardines to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes with wine and water up to the height of the fennel, then add the prepared pasta and sauté over high heat;
**Caldariello. Cubes of leg of lamb stewed in sheep's milk with wild fennel make up this traditional Italian Apulian stew. You may substitute goat's milk and cook a bulb of chopped fennel, as well as fennel seeds, garlic, onion, and parsley, in it. Heat the milk over high heat until it begins to boil, then reduce the heat to low and add the lamb. Cook for 2 hours and 30 minutes without allowing it to boil. Serve with toasted bread.
Fennel and Oral Allergy Syndrome
This condition is caused by an allergic response to proteins found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. It affects certain people who are allergic to pollen from the environment, particularly birch pollen in the case of fennel. As a result, some people who are sensitive to pollen may experience an immunological reaction if they eat raw or cooked fennel. Itching and burning sensations are localized to the mouth, lips, and neck in these persons. Symptoms might arise and then go quickly after eating or handling the problematic food. An anaphylactic response may develop in some more extreme situations.
This response is not significant in the absence of additional symptoms, and fennel use should not be avoided on a regular basis. If you have comparable responses after eating fennel, you should see an allergist to figure out what's causing your allergies to plant foods. The latter will be able to determine whether further measures are required.