Fennel is most commonly used as an herb, but it is often used in the garden as well for its display of golden flowers and wispy leaves. The entire plant is edible from root to tip, and offers a delicious licorice-like aroma. The leaves are commonly used in French and Italian cuisine as added flavoring for fish, mayonnaise, pork roasts and sausage. It can also add flavor to potato salad, dressings, dips, or sauces. The bulbs and flowers can be added to salads, and the seeds can be used as spice for breads.
Fennel can be harvested for its anise or liquorish flavored stalks, bulb or seeds. You can allow the plants to bloom and go to seed then cut the flowers off and hang them to dry in a paper bag. You will have to separate the seeds from a little bit of debris.
The stalks can be harvested and eaten like celery. Cut just below the junctions on the stalks. To harvest the bulb, cut at ground level just above the tap root when the bulb is 2-3 inches across. The leaves can be harvested when the plant reaches 18 inches tall or so.
Fennel leaves will keep in the refrigerator for about a week. Store the harvested seeds in a paper bag in a cool location. You can also dry the leaves and stalks and keep them in an airtight container. Freezing is also another option.
Spacing: Plant 10” to 12” apart.
Height: Grows 24″ to 48″ tall.
How To Grow: Plant in full sun.
Outstanding Features: Use as a garnish or to flavor salads and soups.
Tips: Avoid planting Fennel close to Dill as they tend to cross-pollinate.