Fennel: A Taste of Europe
Fennel originated in the Mediterranean some centuries ago. Due to its features, some confuse it for licorice or anise. Fennel can be used in a plethora of ways in the kitchen—whether grilled, sauteéd, roasted, or even in garnishing dishes, a part of fennel can be used.
Ordinary soup and fish dishes become a gastronomic feast when fennel is added. In grilling, the large fennel bulbs stay juicy and flavorful. Fennel makes a wonderful addition to salad and when used as a sauce.
Sweet fennel is a variety with a distinct bulb-like leaf. Some add it in their dishes as a vegetable, while the stalks can be used as garnish and can be eaten raw. It can also be used as soup or stew dish.
Fennel is a staple in most European dishes, and is widely used in Mediterranean cuisine. Additionally, the ancient Romans also took fennel into liking. Legionnaires consumed it for good health.
Female Romans as well as Greeks used it to fight obesity, as it has weight loss properties. Romans also believed that fennel can improve the eyesight. In the olden days, it was considered one of the 9 sacred herbs by the Anglo-Saxons. In the Middle-Ages, it was used to treat people with respiratory diseases. Today, fennel undeniably has a lot of uses and nutritional content, making growing fennel a great idea for many gardens. Read on for our full guide on how to grow fennel yourself.
Having a constant stock of Fennel in your kitchen will not be a problem as this herb is self-sowing and easy to grow. Fennel is a perennial plant so most homemakers/ gardeners grow it annually for the seeds and leaves. It is best to plant Fennel during spring or autumn, however, it can survive in any weather condition.
Fennel can be transplanted as you wish. Transplant it once it reaches 3 to 4 inches in height. If you are planting several seeds, space them 12 inches apart. The soil should be well-drained and moderately fertile. Fennel needs to be buried deeply into the soil so dig deep. Water Fennel plant once every one or two weeks. It is important to keep the soil moist but do not over water the plant.
Fennel seeds sprout slowly so plan ahead. The germination process takes about 8 to 12 days, and sowing takes more than two weeks. Finally, you can start harvesting after 8 to 10 weeks. When harvesting, use a cheese cloth to hold on to the plant then cut the stalk. Save the seeds for future use. The seeds should be picked before they turn brown. A cool and shady place will be a good place to store the seeds.
Since Fennel can grow from 18 inches to as high as 5 feet, add some stakes or any protection against strong winds. Aphids and molds can be a hassle for Fennel. Protect Fennel from these threats by keeping a well-ventilated location and a well-drained soil. Again, do not let Fennel stand on soggy soil. Cross-pollination can also be a problem so it’s best to position Fennel plants where no self-sowing plants are near. You might regret winding up with a mutant plant that is worthless.