What is Fennel and it’s Benefits?
When someone asks what is Fennel, most people respond by saying it's a
seed that tastes like black licorice. However there is more to Fennel
than a licorice tasting seed. Fennel is also considered a vegetable that
has a bulb that looks like an onion which can be roasted and served
with a flavored vinegar.
What is Fennel Basics
- Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare, is a highly prized Mediterranean food and spice that adds a distinctive flavor to Italian foods
- It has a very high Vitamin C content.
- This vegetable contains Folic Acid, calcium, both manganese and magnesium plus iron
- A three-ounce serving contains only 27 calories.
- Eating Fennel provides about a gram of protein, less than one gram of fat and a little over two and half grams of fiber.
- While this is a very nutritious vegetable very young children and
pregnant women should not eat large quantities due to its naturally
occurring coumarins and volatile oils.
Fennel can be eaten raw, in salads, chopped and cooked, roasted with
other vegetables or meat and dried for later use. The high iron content
helps prevent anemia and improves the nutrition of dishes when fresh
fennel is added.
What is Fennel Cultivation
The question remains, what is fennel because it is not commonly grown
in backyard gardens and not many people realize that this plant, which
is related to Parsley can self seed in agricultural zones 9 and up.
Seasonal planting of Fennel is possible by setting seed early in the
year and transplanting them to the herb bed or garden plot.
What is Fennel Benefits
Fennel has been used for centuries to sweetened breath especially the foul odor caused by gingivitis and to calm upset stomachs.
- The anti-spasmodic properties of the dried Fennel seed has been used
to treat cramping, painful digestion and menstrual discomfort.
- A few Fennel seeds combined with raspberry leaf tea has been used to
increase milk production in lactating mothers and can be used for
animal mothers when crushed and added to their feed.
- Combined with mint, chamomile and other herbs for colds and
respiratory complaints Fennel may provide additional comfort by
lessening the severity of coughing.
- The ground dried seeds act as a laxative, in part from the high amount of dietary fiber.
- The high Vitamin C content may help rid the intestines of excess or harmful bacteria.
- It contains specific chemicals that may prove valuable as a cancer preventative and the diuretic action of the plant.
When asking what is Fennel, be sure to include the nutritional value, as well as the possible medicinal aspects in your answer.
What is Fennel Used for Now and Then?
The dried seed was the most commonly used part of the plant for
medicinal purposes, while the essential oil is very good at deodorizing.
Many cosmetics and personal hygiene products are made with fennel,
including toothpaste, soap, perfume, deodorants, and air freshening
potpourri and sprays. Other fennel uses include:
- Fennel sprigs tied to a dog’s collar may help prevent flea infestations.
- The entire plant can be ground, soaked in a quart of water, strained and used as an insect repellent.
- The sweet smell of Fennel combined with rushes have been used to cover ground floors in houses for centuries
- The leaves produce a brown fabric dye and the flowers a light yellow dye.
Eating healthy does not have to mean eating bland foods
especially if you add Fennel with a wide variety of foods. This salad
recipe provided by Cooking Light is just one example of how easy it is
to combine taste with nutrition.
Fennel and Apple Salad with Lemon-Shallot Dressing
- 1/2 cup minced shallots (green onions can also be used)
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (Lemon concentrate can be substituted)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (Almond, Safflower and Sunflower can also be used)
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar (Flavored vinegars can be substituted if desired)
- 1 teaspoon sugar (1/2 teaspoon honey or sugar substitute including Stevia can be used)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (Sea Salt or Light Salt can be used)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups chopped apples (One pound of apples is close to two cups cored and chopped)
- 2 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb (one medium Fennel bulb equals about one cup when sliced)
- 16 cups leaf lettuce (Combinations of Spinach, Leaf, Boston lettuce and Escarole can also be used)
Combine shallots, lemon juice, water, oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and
pepper, stir vigorously with a whisk. Core and chop apples and slice
Fennel placing both in a large bowl. Add approximately one tablespoon of
the dressing and toss the apples and lettuce. Repeat by spoonfuls until
the apples and lettuce are well coated. Serve.
What is Fennel? It is a tasty, nutritious vegetable and culinary herb
that provides a natural remedy for a variety of minor medical
conditions, as well being used for person hygiene, cleansing and other
More Information and Ways of Cooking with Spices
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