Fennel is a fragrant plant with pale, celery-like stems and bright green, feathery foliage, and a distinctive anise-like flavor. Fennel is a plant with a rather stiff stem 4-5 feet in height. It resembles traditional dill because both of them belong to the same family. Fennel has cylindrical stem empty inside; it divides into some branches with umbels on their tops. The umbels bloom usually golden in July and August. Fennel has a rich history.
The ancient Greeks used the word "marathon" when they referred to fennel. The plant grew in the field where one of the greatest ancient battles took place and which was later named the Battle of Marathon after this admired by the Greeks plant. The Greeks and the Romans held fennel in the highest regard for its medicinal and culinary properties. Fennel was first cultivated by ancient Romans for its flavor. Time passed and fennel found its way to Europe.
Now it is heavily used in Italian and Mediterranean kitchen. Long prized in Italian cuisine, fennel slowly but surely makes its way to the Americas. Although fennel is available all year long, the period from September through February is perfect time for fennel lovers. Fennel is usually cut down when it is still green and used for flavoring and garnishing purposes. Fennel bulb is the part of the plant extensively used in fennel recipes. Pealed and washed bulbs can be stored in a fridge for some time or even frozen for 10 to 12 months with some headspace.
There are a lot of fennel benefits, for example, fennel possesses very pleasant taste and adds a light, laconic touch to any dish, cooked according to a fennel recipes. The French and the Italians have always appreciated fennel's cool and refreshing flavor on fish, thus seafood, being it baked salmon with mushrooms or seafood stew, is often flavored with fennel. Fennel mixed with parsley is often added to meat recipes as it is known for its ability to make meat tenderer. Fennel is highly appreciated as an appetizer in Italy. All you have to do is to slice the fennel and serve it with olive oil. Dessert lists also contain fennel recipes where fennel is served in combination with cheese and some salt or added to orange salad trimmed and mixed with good olive oil. Fennel oil, by the way, is widely used in fennel recipes. It is pressed from fennel seeds and does not remain fresh for a long time. So it is advised to use fennel oil with vegetable salads. To give you an example, you can use roasted beets with fennel oil.
Fennel is not only used in food preparing, but also as a medicine. Fennel is extensively used in medical sphere. Its herbal abilities are known and widely used throughout the world. Tea with fennel leaves helps to get rid of indigestion; it is also a reliable remedy for congestion and cough. One more benefit of fennel is its ability to refresh breath. All you have to do is to chew its leaves. The next fact would inspire women on their way to a better and healthier life - fennel oil is an alternative way to loose some weight as its flavor makes the feeling of fullness in the stomach. In addition, fennel helps to fight with such serious diseases as asthma, stroke, bruising, capillary fragility, and high homocysteine.