Alright so I’m currently a walking zombie after the GREAT night last night at the Best of Atlanta Party! Check out my Instagram or the hashtag #BOAParty15 to see all the tweets & pictures from the evening. As soon as I catch up on my sleep I’ll have the event recap up so stayed tuned! But first a super exciting mini-series I’m introducing today…
I thought it’d be fun to start a mini-series here on the blog taking produce that’s in season and sharing a bit more about it, health benefits and some ways to cook with it! I’m calling it, “At the Farmer’s Market with Britt’s Blurbs.” Because that’s my dream. So many people want to shop the farmer’s market and pick unique produce but have no idea where to start or how to cook with certain foods. That’s where I’m coming in to save you!
Up first is a new-to-me veggie that I only recently started experimenting with… Fennel!
Fennel comes from the celery family and grows tall with the white bulb in the ground. Depending on the area you live, fennel is in season from fall through early Spring so RIGHT NOW. Maybe it’s a little late to the game for some of you but now you know what to look for next season! When picking fennel the fronds should but vibrant and not “wilty looking” the bulb should also be white with little to no brown discoloring. If you’re at a local farmers market it might just be brown from the dirt so that’s okay.
The entire plant is edible but you’ll mostly only see the seeds or bulb used in cooking. The bulb is crisp and smells of liquorice (but doesn’t taste that way!) when you cut into it, while the seeds have an aromatic anise-flavored spice. The stems are crunchy like celery so you can chop those up raw and add them to a salad or even pickle them! The fronds are so pretty that you can use them for garnish on your dishes.
Some of the health benefits include:
- Aids in digestion
- High in Iron
- Great source of fiber and helps maintain healthy levels of cholesterol
- Rich source of potassium and electrolytes promoting brain health
How to Cut the Bulb:
- Cut the bulb away from the stalk.
- Cut the bottom of the bulb off and tear away the outer layer of the bulb.
- Cut the bulb in half then cut the middle out by cutting out a triangle on each half.
- Chop or slice your fennel into desired length/size.
There are numerous ways to cook with fennel but my favorite is to lightly char it in a cast iron skillet and add it to a salad. Grilling it would add a natural, smoky flavor that would pair well with its nutty taste. You can also roast it, saute it or eat it raw!
You can use fennel in:
- Chop in either small or large chunks to add to salads. Fennel also pairs great with citrus in winter salads!
- Roasted and blended into soups
- Add fennel into baked goods for a savory flavor
- Roast and serve over amaranth, quinoa, wheat-berries or any whole grains as a vegetarian meal/salad
- Pickle it for a tasty side
- Use it as a topping for pizza
The possibilities are endless! Head to your local farmer’s market this weekend and see if fennel is still in season in your area!