Fennel is a member of the onion family (Lamiaceae or onionacea). It is commonly used in cooking and as an ingredient for sauces, soups and salves. The scientific name for fennel is Allium sativum and it is native to the Mediterranean and the Near East. Fennel has a familiar, long, slender fleshy item shape resembling that of a bulb. It is tall and thin with purple and blue flowers.
Fennel is used both fresh and dried. Dried fennel seeds retain more of their flavor than the fresh ones and therefore are used more sparingly, usually in recipes where more flavor is needed. Fennel is very flavorful and produces a very pleasant, sweet aroma when they are cracked open. Fennel seed cakes, fennel sausage and fennel-oatmeal are popular for their combination of hearty flavors.
Fennel seed is a perennial bulbous perennial, so it needs a lot of room. This species of perennial seed is native to Africa, but it's now cultivated all over the globe. The fennel plant blooms in the spring. As the flower buds develop, they produce the sweet, pungent flavor and aroma of the seeds, which contain strong compounds that make the plant a favorite for culinary and herbal applications.
Fennel seeds are widely used for their aromatic and flavorful properties. Their ability to produce and retain their flavor comes from the carvings on the underground stems. The carvings, or stylized decoration, allow the fennel seeds to release their potent flavors even after the plant flowers. When you grind fennel seeds, you add the flower heads, or stylized foliage, to the seeds, so that the plant can continue to produce its potent flavor. Fennel can be used both as a spice or as a vegetable.
Fennel is an attractive and easy to grow herb. It prefers a warm, sunny location, but can also be grown in a well drained, moderately rich soil. Fennel grows easily, making it ideal for home gardens. Fennel is commonly used in Italian cooking and is one of the five herbs considered essential in the Italian cooking school of cuisine. In addition to being a tasty and versatile spice, fennel seeds are also used as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, expectorant, stomach remedy, diuretic, stimulant, tonic, and digestive aid.
Fennel has a pungent and stimulating flavor that is similar to the nutmeg spice. Fennel is part of the onion family, Allium cepa, along with chives, coriander, dill, fenugreek, and thyme. Fennel has a nutty, woodsy flavor. Fennel has an earthy aroma, similar to the aroma of hot peppers. Fennel essential oil is considered very pungent and can easily irritate the sinuses, throat, eyes, and digestive tract, especially if fennel seeds are ingested.
Fennel is a perennial herb that grows up to four feet tall and produces yellow flowers. The flowers are large and round, about one-third the size of the plant. Yellow flowers look highly aromatic, having a strong citrus odor with a hint of lemony flavor. The anise flavor of Fennel is a light, grassy aroma with a slight lemon peel accent. Both the anise and lemon peel aroma have a strong tropical fruit flavor.
Anise, lemongrass, and ginger are commonly found in Thai and Chinese cooking and come in many different forms, including dried, fresh fennel, powdered, and dried orange peel seeds. When these spices are exposed to air they expand and form starches known as carrageenans. Carrageenans have a high smoke point and therefore make great starter dishes or a good accompaniment to fish, meat, or poultry. Carrageenans also have a rich spicy taste that is somewhat reminiscent of curry. Thai red curry made with carrageenan is widely popular throughout the world.