A highly aromatic plant with yellow flowers. Fennel is used as a spice in many cultures, and Its flavor is very similar to that of anise or licorice. The fennel seeds are often also confused with anise, and they are not the same.
Fennel has a similar flavor, but unlike anise, fennel is not as bold and robust rather fennel seeds have a much milder sweetness to them. The entire fennel plant is edible.
The white bulb of the fennel can be consumed along with its seeds, green stalks and also the feathery leaves. In some regions of the world, fennel is also often used as a herb.
Fennel in itself is so useful that one of its types which have swollen bulb-like the stem is used as a vegetable.
In Greek, fennel is referred to as marathon. Absinthe which is famous alcohol is prepared with three major ingredients, and one of them is fennel, and another distilled spirit akvavit is made from fennel.
The fennel plants of some species are so beautiful that they are often also used for decoration and as ornamental plants.
Types of Fennel
The various types of fennel known are:
1) Sweet Fennel
This is one of the standard types. It is mainly cultivated for their fresh and dry leaf production. Common fennel is also called sweet fennel. The green fennel seeds are considered the best.
This leaf is bronze in color. This plant is majorly grown for its ornamental purpose and is famously used for decorations.
Its unique and attractive leaves are the reason why these plants are used as ornamentals. The leaves are unique bronze-red.
These plants have a uniform and round bulbs. They do not take very long to mature and thus, can easily be cultivated.
This plant has an amazing resistance to bolting. This is one of the more bold and robust types.
These plants are usually slow in growing and thus should be planted early in the season.
The product of this plant is much more in comparison to all other types.
These fennels are generally used as vegetables and have a thick bulb-like base with stalks almost like celery.
It is further available in two varieties:
- Zefa Fino
The fennel whose leaves have beautiful bronze caste. These plants are generally used as an ornamental plant in gardens. They attract a lot of butterflies too.
10) Fennel Seed
They may be called fennel seeds but, are the fruits of the fennel plant. These are used to add flavor in many cuisines. These seeds are usually long, thin and curve and their color ranges from brown – to shades of green.
Health Benefits of Fennel
A small portion of fennel that is only about a 100 grams provides you with 1440 kilojoules of energy and is a rich source of protein, vitamins, minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron.
These seeds have a carb content of around 52% and 40% dietary fiber and 16% protein the rest is all fat and water. Fennel might be a small little seed, but the list of its benefits is never-ending.
Some of its amazing health benefits have been enlisted below:
1) Fennel helps in maintaining and regulating the cholesterol levels of our body.
2) They are beneficial for our skin as they are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants which help add glow and remove acne and pimples.
3) Antioxidants also help in curbing the growth of free radicals which are the major reason behind the chronic diseases like cancer.
4) Vitamin K present in fennel helps in promoting the health bone mineralization.
5) Fennels are best for the stomach discomfort in babies. Its essential oil works wonders in such cases.
6) Fennel is known to be helpful in controlling diarrhea.
7) Potassium in fennel further helps in maintaining brain health.
8) Fennel seeds are considered extremely helpful for women’s menstrual cycles.
9) These small little wonders help in boosting immunity.
10) Fennel is also used in the prevention of respiratory disorders especially bronchitis.
11) Fennel is antimicrobial and is also used in the treatment of conjunctivitis.
12) The fennel seeds are also added to many cough syrups which aid in getting rid of phlegm.
13) The amino acids and vitamin C content of fennel help in the regeneration of tissues.
14) The fennel also helps in absorption of all nutrients from the food we eat.
15) Fennel also helps in fighting anemia due to its high iron content.
Uses of Fennel
1) Fennel Seeds are known to fight bad breath.
2) Fennel has diuretic properties and improves metabolism which induces weight loss, and thus, fennel can be used in your diet to aid weight loss.
3) Fennel essential oil can be used to prevent acne and pimples.
4) Malpuas and pancakes can be made even more delicious by adding this delicately sweet flavored seeds.
5) The fennel oil is used to protect stored fruits and vegetables against the growth of all types of fungi.
6) They are often also used as flavoring agents in many world cuisines.
7) Fennel seeds are also used in certain toothpaste.
8) In Indian culture, fennel seeds are often consumed after dinner to assist in digestion and also for freshening the mouth.
9) The fennel seeds are an important ingredient in various Italian sauces.
10) Comfits are made from fennel seeds which are often used as digestives or candies.
However small this wondrous item may be, but fennels are truly a powerhouse of nutrition and indeed help us regulate our body functioning and metabolism. They also assist in digestion.
One of its major positives is its aroma. It is often added to Indian masala chai to increase its aroma. These seeds often are also consumed as mouth fresheners due to their unique flavor and aroma. Various people in primitive times have applauded this powerhouse in their proses and so before we end let’s add one such prose by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that is:
“Above the lower plants, it towers,
The Fennel with its yellow flowers;
And in an earlier age than ours
Was gifted with the wondrous powers
Lost vision to restore.”