Thursday, January 2, 2014

31 Days of Green: Day 2 Fennel

Fennel is quite a fun looking plant. I have always been a bit intimidated by it. It has a bold licorice flavor and several different edible parts. So at a loss for what I would do with it, I usually pass it up at the farmers market. This day was different though; the fennel lay in its’ basket, bright and luscious with massive fronds billowing over the sides. It shined amongst the other dull looking kales and collards and for only 2 dollars for three of these giants, I knew it was time. As soon as I got home I called my sister just knowing she’d have an awesome recipe. Nope, she, like me, kind of knew what to do with it. The first order of business was figuring out how to put it in our tiny fridge. It looked like a bush had grown out of the bottom of the refrigerator. My poor husband, he never knows what to expect when he opens the door. I thought about just juicing it, but my sister mentioned that you could use it kind of like a radish and make a cold salad and the farmer told me it got really mild when sautéed and was great in stir fry or curry. So I had my options, I decided to try it raw since it would have a stronger taste.  I don’t normally like licorice flavor but this turned out even more delicious than I thought. It was light and refreshing and had a mild flavor. Also as a bonus it is baby approved!

Fierce Fennel

Did you know fennel is great for breastfeeding moms? I loved my nursing tea that contained fennel. It gave it a light licorice taste and I definitely had an abundant milk supply. You can drink teas or eat fennel for breastfeeding support. Read more about it hereFennel is also full of antioxidants and is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. It is a good source of many vitamins and minerals as well as fiber.
Read about selecting, storing, and nutrition information here. 

Fennel Salad

Gluten Free, Raw

1 large fennel bulb plus a little a piece of the stem and frond
1 sweet apple
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbl olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts
pinch of salt

Remove the nub of the root from the fennel bulb and then thinly slice the bulb and stem and put it into a large bowl. Roughly chop the frond and add it to the bowl. Core the apple and cut into matchsticks, then mix with the fennel. Add the nuts to the bowl. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Toss the fennel, apple, nut mixture in the dressing. Serve cold. 

Notes and Substitutions

  • This salad taste much better when it gets to sit overnight.
  • You can use another type of nut. Chopped pecans work well, and I think pumpkin or soaked sunflower seeds would be a nice nut free option.


What is your favorite way to prepare fennel?

Are there any vegetables you are intimidated to try?

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