If you have spent any time looking for healthy, delicious recipes for the new year, you have likely found a few dishes containing the fennel plant. A Mediterranean herb with both medicinal and culinary uses, recipes featuring this plant often use the leaves and the bulb, which is high in vitamin C and fiber and features a licorice-like taste. These parts of the herb are often found in salads and other, similar dishes. However, fennel seeds and fennel pollen can also be used in a number of different ways to add flavor to your dishes and benefit your body. Read on to learn how to find, store and use these useful ingredients.
Where to Buy These Ingredients
Fennel seeds can often be found in specialty shops, but fennel pollen is often more difficult to find. Fortunately, many people who buy spices online have been able to find both products. Whichever source you use, make sure you look for bright yellow-green fennel seeds; dull, gray-brown seeds will be old. Likewise, consider the reputation of the retailer before you make a choice: shops who clearly understand their product and are well-rated by other shoppers are your best bet.
Storage and Preparation
Before you try out any fennel pollen or fennel seed recipes, make sure to store these ingredients in airtight containers away from direct sunlight to keep them as fresh as possible. Fennel pollen and fennel seeds can be used in dishes as is, but some fennel seed recipes might call for this ingredient to be crushed into a fine powder. This step should be completed just before you begin cooking.
Using Fennel Pollen and Fennel Seed
Fennel pollen can be added to a variety of dishes, including breads, pesto, salads, roasted meats and fish. Like any other powdered herb, it should be added during the later stages of cooking. Fennel seed recipes are just as diverse, but slightly more difficult to apply: for example, it can be ground up and added to homemade curry paste, barbecue sauce, curries, and more. It can also be used whole in salads, on meat and fish dishes, and on baked goods. The seeds can also be bruised to make a carminative tea, or chewed raw to help freshen breath.
Have you ever used fennel seeds or fennel pollen in your kitchen? Are you considering using these ingredients? Tell us about it in the comments below!