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Our company blog, Annie's Gardening Corner, takes a sneak peek at how we balance our own love for everything green + a place to find inspiration, garden ideas and landscape design tips.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fennel – The Overlooked Veggie

Albert Einstein once said, “An empty stomach is not a good political adviser.” It really isn’t good to have an empty stomach when you undertake anything so Annie’s gardening post today is about an interesting plant to use in your kitchen – fennel. This aromatic plant is a member of the Apiaceae or Umbelliferae family. Fennel is often confused with anise because they are members of the same family. Anise is only used for its seeds where fennel is used for its entire stalk. This plant is loaded with lots of good things for you including antioxidants and vitamin C.

During the holidays, fennel was always served like celery. Its interesting yet strong licorice flavor made it a top taster with the black olives dotting our fingers. It can bring a Mediterranean flair to your cuisine. Remember, if you roast fennel, new flavors will emerge. So be daring and leave the celery in the veggie bin and check out fennel. Here are a couple of uses for this vegetable.

Roasted fennel:

2 fennel bulbs
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Remove the stalks and slice the bulbs into ½ “thick slices.
Lay out fennel on a baking tray
Lightly coat with olive oil, balsamic vinegar
Roast at a 400°F oven for approximately 20 minutes until the fennel is soft and slightly caramelized.
Salt and pepper to taste
This recipe is a great accompaniment to roasted poultry.

Fennel is also great to add to a minestrone soup. Add a ½ of fennel bulb, sliced thin to your favorite recipe. It adds another dimension to the standard onion, celery and carrot base.

Fennel can also be planted in your borders or containers for ornamental purposes. Bronze fennel is a brownish purple variety with delicate fern-like foliage. A word to the wise: do not plant it too close to your dill because it can cross-pollinate and give the dill an anise flavor.

The inspirational thought for the day is by Jimmy Johnson. “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” Give it a go. Try fennel. Annie
Fennel image from Internet
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© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)