14 May 2006

Herbs - Fennel

Fennel was used by the Romans and introduced as long ago as 1100A.D. to Britain.


Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) has long been regarded as the slimmer's herb. The reason being that fennel has diuretic properties and it also helps to lessen the pangs of hunger.

To aid weight loss, you can make a slimming tea from fennel seeds. Crush the seeds lightly to break the hard outer casing, put them in a pot and then add cold water. Use one teaspoon of fennel seeds to one cup of water. Bring the water to the boil and as soon as its boiled take the pot off, let it cool to the desired heat, strain and drink. A slice of orange can be added for extra flavour. If you don't have seeds (which can easily be obtained at a health shop) you can make an infusion with the leaves. Put a sprig of fresh fennel (about 2 teaspoons) in a cup and pour over boiling water. Let it steep for 10 to 15 minutes, strain, cool and drink.


It's an excellent digestive herb because it stimulates the digestive system, helping it to work properly. This includes clearing toxins from the system, soothing and settling the gut, easing cramps and colic, and relieving flatulence.

Apart from having a soothing effect on our digestive system, fennel is believed to balance the overall energetic effect of food on our bodies. There is the belief that if we eat while experiencing strong emotions like anger, depression, grief, irritability, and anxiety, we are eating these emotions along with our food and this affects the digestion.

Fennel is also safe for children. It can be used as an infusion or syrup for colic and painful teething in babies. It is also known to increase breast milk production.

Other uses include being used as a mouthwash for gum disorders, a gargle for sore throats, an eye wash for tired eyes, a poultice to reduce swelling and chew the seeds as a breath freshener

In The Kitchen

Storage :
Fresh leaves: Keep in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, or chop finely and freeze in ice-cube trays. They can also be infused in olive oil or wine vinegar.
Dried stalks and seeds: Keep in airtight containers in a cool, dark place.

Fennel leaves have a strong aniseed flavour and when finely chopped they are a delicious addition to green beans or as a stuffing. Fennel seeds lend savour to stir-fries and rice dishes. The fennel bulb is delicious when roasted or the raw bulb can be shaved into salads. An infusion of Fennel can also be added to soups and stews. For Indian dishes, roast before use. The seeds can also be sprouted and added to green salads.

Fennel and Mint Salad
Jolinda Hackett Your Guide to Vegetarian Cuisine

The combination of mint and fennel (anise) in this salad creates a light and fresh taste.

* 2 bulbs fennel (anise), slivered
* 1/2 head lettuce, or approx 2 cups
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1/2 tsp pepper

Toss fennel with oil, salt and pepper on roasting pan and bake in oven at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, until fennel is slightly soft. Allow to cool slightly, and toss with lettuce and mint leaves. Serve with orange balsamic vinaigrette.

Orange Balsamic Vinegar

* 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* juice of one orange (approx 1/4 cup)
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1/4 tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients except oil in medium sized bowl. Slowly, while whisking briskly, add oil and combine well.

Braised Fennel With Rosemary
Recipes EU 's Recipe Site

*12 each Garlic cloves
*4 tbsp Olive oil
*4 large Fennel bulbs
*1/3 cup Water
*8 each Sprigs fresh rosemary
*12 each Brine-cured black olives
*Salt and fresh ground pepper
*Lemon slices, for garnish

Bring 2 to 3 cups of water to a boil in a small pot and blanch the garlic cloves for 3 to 4 minutes; drain.
Heat 1 tb. of the oil in a small skillet over medium heat and brown the garlic until golden all
Cut the leaf stalks and the hard butt ends from the fennel bulbs, leaving just the bulbous stem, a piece 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches long.
Halve the small bulbs lengthwise; quarter the larger bulbs.
In a large skillet, heat the remaining oil and the water over medium heat.
Add the fennel in a single layer and the rosemary. (If you have more fennel than your skillet can accommodate in a single layer, save half the oil and rosemary to cook with half the fennel in a second batch.)
Cover and cook the fennel, turning once or twice, until water cooks away and the fennel is tender and browning, about 15 minutes.
If the fennel begins to brown before it feels tender, add a little more water; if it becomes tender before browning, raise the heat or take off the lid to speed browning.
When the fennel is tender and browned, add the garlic and olives and warm through.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with lemon slices.


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