Foeniculum vulgare dulco
Also known as Finocchio or vegetable fennel, the plants have a sweet, celery-like flavor with a hint of black licorice. It can be baked, boiled in soups, and also used raw, finely sliced into garden salads. For Italian-American family gatherings, fennel can often be found thinly sliced on veggie platters and used as a crispy palate cleanser. The young leaves and stalks can be harvested, as needed, for flavoring recipes.
Although both anise and fennel possess a mild, black licorice flavor, they are not the same plant. This is a common confusion in America where vegetable fennel bulbs are sold in grocery stores as either anise or fennel. All parts of the fennel plant can be used where only the seeds of anise are used.
Fennel is hardy to about 20ºF, is a biennial or perennial in warmer zones (7 and higher), but is generally grown as an annual. Each packet contains 0.5 gram, which is approximately 70 seeds.
- "Fennel in the Garden," by Ken Adams and Dan Drost, Utah State University, 2012. [PDF]
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