What I look like: Fennel is a perennial herb with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It’s highly aromatic with a similar taste and smell of anise. It has hollow stems and the plant itself grows up to 4-5 foot tall. Fennel is native to the Mediterranean and thrives in well drained soil. Fennel also has a very important role to play in the garden if you are trying to attract butterflies, since some species of caterpillars love snacking on it.
What I’m used for: The bulb, foliage, and seeds of the fennel plant are widely used in many of the culinary traditions around world. The small flower of fennel is the most potent form of fennel. For cooking, green seeds are optimal. The leaves are delicately flavored and similar in shape to those of dill. The bulb is a crisp vegetable that can be sautéed, stewed, braised, grilled, or eaten raw. Fennel is widely used in Mediterranean cuisine, where bulbs and fronds are used, both raw and cooked, in side dishes, salads, pastas, and vegetable dishes.
Aside from its delicious culinary uses Fennel also is used medicinally to treat intestinal upset such as gas, but should not be used long term. Fennel is also really good for your eyes and can help aid in the treatment of glaucoma (or to clear cloudy eyes) and improve vision. In other uses fennel is one of the plants which is said to be disliked by fleas, and powdered fennel has the effect of driving away fleas from kennels and stables.
This container grown herb is currently available at Bluebonnet Herb Farms. We sell two varieties: Sweet Fennel & Bronze Fennel
*Note *Bronze Fennel is just like regular fennel but does not grow quite as tall and it has a darker bronze coloring on the foliage. The bronze fennel has all of the same uses as your regular sweet fennel.
Mediterranean Roasted Vegetable & Shrimp Salad
Yield: 4 servings
- 1/2 cup Wish-Bone Mediterranean Italian Vinaigrette Dressing, divided
- 2 Large tomatoes cut into wedges
- 1 cup thinly sliced fennel
- 1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
- 2 large shallots or 1 small onion, sliced into thin wedges
- 8 cups arugula or baby spinach leaves
- 1 lb. cooked large shrimp
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 425 Degrees
- Toss 1/4 cup Wish-Bone Mediterranean Italian Vinaigrette Dressing with tomatoes, fennel, zucchini, shallots and garlic in 13 x 9- inch shallow roasting pan. Roast, stirring once, until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in shrimp and lemon juice. Roast until shrimp are heated through, about 5 minutes.
- Toss arugula with remaining 1/4 cup dressing in serving bowl. Top with shrimp and vegetables. Garnish, if desired, with chopped fresh basil.