If you know someone with a fennel plant, late autumn is the time to befriend them because they’ll have heaps of seeds which I’m sure they’ll be only too happy to share.
Fennel is one of the easier herbs to recognize with its wispy green foliage on tall stems, its aniseed like aroma, and bell shaped unpretentious flowers that turn into myriad brown seeds.
If it’s left to its own devices it will take over by spreading its seedlings all around, so you’ll be doing someone a favor by taking some seeds off their hands to dry and store in a herb jar.
What part of fennel do you eat and use
Fennel seeds make a delicious tea which according to tradition and experience, relieves flatulence and aids digestion. You simply pour boiling water over a tablespoon of dried seeds and allow it to steep for 15-20 minutes before straining and adding, if you wish, a little honey.
Fennel tea is also reputed to be an excellent drink to stimulate milk production in nursing mothers. Other reported benefits are that it may help reduce weight, improve eyesight and help relieve persistent coughs.
One of fennel’s great values is in encouraging us to eat more fish, which is one of the bits of advice coming loud and clear from those who want to see us keeping up our heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
How to cook with fennel seeds and leaves
Fennel leaves snipped into a white sauce make an excellent accompaniment to fish, and they can also form an aromatic bed on which to serve whole fish that has been grilled.
The seeds go well with fish dishes. They can be ground and rubbed onto the fish before cooking. This tasty fish dish is very simple but imparts fennel’s flavor and healthful properties with a tang of lemon to make an interesting difference.