Fennel is the poster child for making use of all of your resources. Virtually every part of this veggie can be consumed! From bulb to stalk, leaves to seeds, even the oil can be extracted and used! With a crisp crunch akin to celery and a surprising flavour reminiscent of liquorice, fennel is a quirky vegetable that can elevate a simple dish to genuine gourmet.
In true form, we would never recommend an ingredient that didn’t make the cut health-wise. Fennel’s nutritional resume has been evaluated and passed our rigorous panel of judges with flying colours. Here are a few highlights
Good quality fennel will have bulbs that are clean, firm and solid, without signs of splitting, bruising or spotting. The bulbs should be whitish or pale green in color. The stalks should be relatively straight and closely superimposed around the bulb and should not splay out to the sides too much. Both the stalks and the leaves should be green in color. There should be no signs of flowering buds as this indicates that the vegetable is past maturity. Fresh fennel should have a fragrant aroma, smelling subtly of licorice or anise. Fennel is usually available from autumn through early spring.
Store fresh fennel in the refrigerator crisper, where it should keep fresh for about four days; however, fennel is quick to lose flavour, so for optimum taste, we recommend prompt use. Dried fennel seeds should be stored in an airtight container in a cool and dry location where they will keep for about six months. Storing fennel seeds in the refrigerator will help to keep them fresher longer.
As with any fresh produce, the first step is to rinse! Make sure to rinse the bulb and fronds! Cut the stalks off close to the bulb and then using a vegetable peeler, you can remove the stringy outer layer on the bulb.
As I indicated earlier, fennel is an extremely versatile veggie! You can try anything from raw fennel in salads or mincing the fronds to use as a flavourful herb. There are quick cooking methods like sautéing or steaming, or you can even try out longer approaches like braising or roasting. Today we will out line a few simple methods that can get you on the right path for cooking fennel for you AND for baby!
Nice and easy! Cut the bulb into ½ inch wedges (similar to an onion). Lightly brush with cooking oil and toss onto a pre-heated grill. Grill each side for about 5 minutes, or until the edges darken and golden ridges show.
Steaming is such a healthy way to prepare produce! In a steamer, boil water, make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the steamer basket. Cut the bulbs into ½ inch slices and remove the fibrous core. Place the fennel slices into the steamer basket and cover. Steam for 8-10 minutes until the fennel is silky but still slightly crispy.
Over the next few blogs we are going to show you how to make some great fennel dishes that will let you and your baby maximize its great taste and fantastic health benefits!!
Posted on June 12, 2012 | Filed under: Food Profile
It's convenient, it's tasty and it's really good for your baby. Why wouldn't you choose that?
Patsy, Jeff and baby Tenzin