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In Season in Autumn: Florence Fennel


Go to:  Main Autumn Seasonal Page

 

Jump to:-    Buying & Storing  Fennel  |   Preparing and cooking  Fennel  |  Nutritional Value of Fennel  |  Editor's Choice Top 3  Autumn Fennel Recipes

 


What is Florence Fennel?

 

Often referred to just as "fennel" Florence Fennel (also called finocchio or Italian fennel) is a bulbous vegetable which has a aniseed/liquorice flavour. Whilst it can be bought throughout the year, it is at its best in late summer/autumn and can be relatively easily grown at home.

 

The bulbs have layers, a bit like onions, and range from round to oval and are at their best when they reach the size of a  tennis ball. The leaves look similar to dill and can be used as a seasoning although they should not be confused with the fennel herb.
 

 

Buying and storing fresh Florence Fennel

 

Choose firm specimens which feel heavy for their size and have a clean appearance, tightly pack layers and no brown spots on the bulbs. They are best used as soon as possible after buying or harvesting but will keep for 2-3 days if refrigerated. 

 

Preparing  and Cooking fresh Florence Fennel

 

Before use, wash well. Cut off a thick slice from the root end and the fronds. Florence Fennel can be eaten raw however it can have a very strong flavour so unless you are used to it, slice as thinly as possible and use sparingly in salads.

 

The flavour tends to get much milder when it is cooked. It can be steamed whole for 20-35 minutes until tender or it can be halved, quartered, sliced or chopped depending on the recipe. Whole bulbs can also be microwaved in a covered dish with a little water for 8-10 minutes. Florence fennel is also suitable for roasting, braising, boiling and frying and is an excellent addition to soups.

 

Nutritional value of Florence Fennel

 

Florence fennel bulbs contain iron, calcium, vitamin C, potassium and vitamin A and a medium size bulb contains 2around 30 calories.
 


Editor's Choice:  Top 3 Autumn Season Florence Fennel Recipes

 

1

Braised Fennel

An easy to make side dish using fresh fennel bulbs which is made on the stovetop. The inclusion of bacon and chicken stock gives extra flavour.

 

 

2

Finnochi Gratinati

 

An Italian side dish recipe using fresh Florence fennel which is par-boiled then baked in a creamy sauce

 

 

3

Fennel a la Grecque

Fennel is a popular ingredient in many Mediteranean countries. In this recipe is is cooked in white wine with herbs then allowed to get cold before serving as a starter.

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