Fennel is one of the oldest cultivated plants and was much valued by the Romans. Warriors took it to keep in good health, while their ladies took it to stave off obesity.
Traditionally, fennel has been used to treat a range of digestive issues. The nutrients are similar to those in celery, which belongs to the same family. It’s been used by cancer patients, after radiation and chemotherapy, to help rebuild the digestive system.
The bulb, foliage and seeds have been used in cooking for centuries – and have a distinct aniseed flavour. The seeds have the strongest flavour – whist the bulb has a milder taste. Normally we just use the bulb in smoothies.
The bulb is fairly fibrous – but it breaks down well. The taste tends to be quite delicate – and is easily overpowered.