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Delicious Ways to Use Wild Fennel

Delicious Ways to Use Wild Fennel

Sure, feral fennel is a weed. But with feathery fronds and bright clusters of flowers, fennel fills the air with a scent of anise. Grilled fennel bulbs are delicious. Gardenista contributor Marla adds a dusting of golden pollen to many dishes. Here’s her take on this sometimes overlooked weed.

Photographs by Marla Aufmuth for Gardenista.

Above: The bulbs are best eaten when the plants are young. Tender, young stalks are good grated into salads, sliced lengthwise and grilled, or even roasted and pureed into soup. Older stalks can be very fibrous, though.

Above: Stalking the prey: Maria gets them young before they are more than a month or so old. After the plants flower, use the golden blossoms to add a slight flavor of anise to a dish. (Consider tossing them into a white wine sauce for clams.)

Above: Maria’s favorite way to use fennel is to harvest the blossoms for pollen.

Above: Put ten flowers with 6-inch stems head first into a brown paper bag. Tie the bag with brown twine, but not too tightly; you want a little airflow. Store the bag in a dry, cool area. After a few weeks, shake the bag vigorously and discard stems and flowers. The pollen will remain in the bottom of the bag. Transfer it to a spice container or small envelope.

Above: Pinch this golden dust over dark chocolate, or mix it with a touch of sea salt and sprinkle it on fish or scallops. You can also combine it with butter to dress vegetables, or with crème fraiche to add to soups.

For more of our favorite foragers’ finds, see What You Can Do With a Loquat: Alcohol is Involved.

Read more: Crafts & Design, Crafts & Hobbies, Green, Green Home Decor, Green Kitchen Tips, Lawns & Gardens, Outdoor Activities, Remodelista, Surprising uses for ..., , , , ,

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Gardenista is a one-stop sourcebook for cultivated living, a guide to outdoor design and gardening. Helmed by former New York Times columnist Michelle Slatalla, Gardenista features inspiration, garden visits, and advice for all things outdoor living, from patios and peonies, to tables and terraces. Gardens matter, and Gardenista celebrates tomatoes on the fire escape as much as rolling acres of green.


+ add your own
9:58AM PDT on Jun 2, 2013

good to know

9:58AM PDT on May 25, 2013

Thanks 4 your wonderful tips! Lovely pictures too...

2:26AM PDT on May 21, 2013

Thanks for the ideas.

11:10AM PDT on May 6, 2013


4:59PM PDT on May 3, 2013

I enjoy a lot many ideas that I usually find here on care2. Than you!

1:45PM PDT on May 3, 2013

Good ideas. Thank you for sharing.

8:56AM PDT on May 3, 2013


8:10AM PDT on May 3, 2013

I love fennel.

9:08AM PDT on May 2, 2013

good to know

8:44AM PDT on May 2, 2013


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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