Fennel Fronds and Freckles on my Lettuce?

Yes!  In our shares this week, we are getting a lovely red speckled lettuce!  It’s not rust, so don’t throw it out!  I don’t remember the name of this lettuce, exactly, and I forgot to grab my newsletter, so you’ll just have to trust me on this – it’s supposed to look that way!

Speaking of newsletters, Jacquie and I got together this week, and she’s going to start sending me copies of the newsletters to put up on the blog each week.

So what else is in the share this week?  Well, lots of good yummy things, but one that I really look forward to is the FENNEL!

Fennel is completely edible, fronds, stalks and bulbs.  The white bulb part of the fennel has the most delicate, light anise flavor, and can be braised, grilled, baked, steamed, or eaten raw.

The green stalks of the fennel are sort of celery-like, very fibrous.  They can be used in soups and stews instead of celery, added to tomato sauce, or chopped up for a nice crunch in your salad.  The lacy fronds are a tasty addition to salads and can be used as a fresh herb similarly to dill.  The fronds have the strongest anise flavor of the whole fennel plant.

Some people are a bit intimidated by fennel because it smells like licorice… I know I was at first.  But after trying it a few times, I realized it’s very versatile, and does not taste as much like licorice as it smells.  It’s very mild.

Before cooking your fennel, trim the root end of the bulb.  The stalks should be trimmed about an inch above the bulb.  And, wrapped in plastic, your fennel should keep in the fridge for a couple of days.  You will want to use the fennel sooner if you like the anise flavor, as the flavor tends to fade, the longer it is stored.

One last random fennel fact: it was supposedly Thomas Jefferson’s favorite vegetable!

Do you have a favorite fennel recipe or tip to share??

posted by Anisa from the Schell Urban Homestead

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4 responses to “Fennel Fronds and Freckles on my Lettuce?

  1. I love this food blog for ideas about how to use various vegetables: http://simplyrecipes.com/tag/Fennel

    She’s got 5 recipes with fennel that all look great. I’m thinking of making that salad with the peas from this week’s bag instead of fava beans.

  2. This is a great recipe for using Fennel:

    Spring Salad with Fennel and Orange

    READY IN 25 Min

    INGREDIENTS
    Dressing:
    • 1/4 cup white sugar
    • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil

    Salad:
    • 1 (10 ounce) bag mixed salad greens
    • 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
    • 1 orange, peeled and segmented
    • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
    • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

    DIRECTIONS
    1. Whisk together the sugar, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, basil, and olive oil in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves; set aside. Toss the salad greens, sliced fennel, orange, onion, almonds, and cranberries in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to serve.

  3. Thanks for the recipe suggestions! Wasn’t sure what to do with it so I started by putting some fronds in my maccaroni tuna salad. Do you know can I freeze the bulb? Should I cook it first? I’m thinking what a nice flavor addition for pumpkin or squash soup!

  4. we dried the fronds for use with fish throughout the summer. took the bulb and made potato, leek, and fennel soup…turned out fantastic!

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