Fennel Bulb

Also known as, Florence Fennel, Sweet Fennel or Finocchio (Italian)

Florence Fennel myfavouritepastime.com

  • An annual cultivar of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) grown for its bulbous leaf bases. There are several cultivars of Florence Fennel.
  • Florence fennel has a rounded pale green bulb with short stems and feathery green leaves. It can be mistaken for a plump bunch of celery.
  • Its flavour is mild, somewhat like anise or liquorice, but sweeter and more aromatic.
  • Fennel is erroneously called ‘anise’ in the USA even though it’s an entirely different plant from the herb anise (Pimpinella anisum) which is grown for its seeds and oil, secreted extracted from the leaves.
  • The bulb, feathery fronds, seeds and pollen of fennel are broadly used in many culinary traditions around the world.
  • The French and Italians cultivate and use more fennel than anyone else.

Use of Fennel Bulb

  • The bulb is a crisp vegetable that can be sautéed, stewed, braised, blanched, grilled, or eaten raw, as a vegetable or in salads. It can also be marinated and eaten raw.
  • Fennel bulb is a key ingredient in some Italian and German salads, often tossed with chicory and avocado.
  • Fennel is filling and yet very low in calories, like celery. It provides an excellent snack for weight watchers.
  • Fennel can be braised and served as a warm side dish.
  • It can be cooked in risotto, usually in combination with leek or used as an ingredient in soups

Use of Fennel Leaves and Stems

  • Fresh leaves can be infused in olive oil or wine vinegar.
  • Chopped fresh leaves can be added to mayonnaise, sauces, stuffings, vinaigrettes, vegetables and seafood salads, and pork.
  • Chopped fresh leaves can be sprinkled over soups or salads as a garnish and flavouring.
  • Fresh leaves can be used in a bouquet garni to flavour fish dishes.
  • Whole fresh leaves and stems can be used with baked or grilled seafood.
  • Fennel leaves are used in some parts of India as leafy green vegetables, on its own or mixed with other vegetables.
  • In Syria and Lebanon, the young leaves used to make a special Arab or Egyptian egg omelette (together with onions and flour). called Eggah.
  • Fennel pairs well with parsley, oregano, sage, thyme and chilli.

Preparation of Absinthe:

  • Florence fennel is one of the three main herbs used in preparation of absinthe, an alcoholic mixture formerly a medicinal elixir in Switzerland and currently a popular alcoholic drink in France and other countries.


  • One raw fennel bulb contains only about 73 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 2.9 grams of protein, 17 grams of carbohydrate, and 7 grams of dietary fibre (28% of daily requirements).


Through fall and winter in North America.

Want to Read More?

  1. Botanical: Foeniculum vulgare
  2. What are the heath benefits of Fennel? 

Author: Liz

I love everything food: eating, cooking, baking and travelling. I also love photography and nature.

2 thoughts

  1. Interesting post Liz! Would you believe we have a wild fennel which grows in ditches and other waste lands, especially close to the ocean. I recall as a kid chewing on the leaves, if you can call them that, sort of like dill leaves. Great substitute for lick rice, haha, spell check….licorice for sure! Funny, I’ve never tried digging one up for the bulbous base! On a mission now….

    1. I ate a lot of liquorice when I was a student in the Netherlands. They really love them there. I don’t eat fennel much but I love fennel tea! I am starting to doze off…

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