Fennel

Fennel is a flower plant in the family of carrots. It’s a perennial plant with yellow flowers and feathery leafs. It came about in Mediterranean and from there it came to the US and to countless other parts of the world where they are used in cuisine.

Both the leafs and fruit are used in American cooking as a spice and addition to many meals. It’s considered to be a healthy food and with good reasons so it’s becoming more prevalent now when there’s more care about such matters.

Fennel Trivia

  • The Ancient Greeks considered fennel as a godly food, and it was believed that the vegetable distributed godly knowledge through charcoal in the vegetable’s stalks.
  • It smells like anise.
  • The whole of the plant is edible.

Fennel Buying Guide

You should look for bright white and unblemished firm bulbs that feel heavy for its size. The smaller the bulbs are the sweeter they will be. They are also more tender and easier to manage. This is especially true when you peel the layer of skin from it before cooking.

The leafs should look fresh and watered enough when seen in the store.

Fennel Production & Farming in Texas

It’s a plant that originates in the Mediterranean and you should grow it in Texas in areas that can somewhat mimic that environment and that climate. That’s not always possible because the two areas are very different.

It takes about 70 days for the plant to produce a good size bulb and it grow best in the cool temperatures, somewhere between 50s and 60s. Good timing is key here because the warm weather could cause the plant to produce seeds instead of bulbs and steams.

If you’re planting the seeds from the ground up, you should do best to do so in late fall. The soil should be kept moist and fertile using artificial fertilizer or mulch. It will therefore require a lot of resource in water and composting.

When the plants start to flower they may try to seed themselves and continue growing up to the next winter. You may also want to put these out and to plant your own seeds but not from the ground and via transplanting.

To harvest you’re supposed to cut the plant bellow the plant at the soil line. There’s no rush when it comes to frost because it can survive a few frosts.

Pesticides

At this point fennel isn’t mentioned in the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Pesticides, but it’s still affected by more than a few pesticides that used in the US so you need to be careful.

Geography

At this point as much as 60 percent of all fennel in the world comes from India. The second biggest producer in the world is China and the third is Bulgaria. The US is less important in this market and it’s mostly producing fennel for its own needs.

When it comes to the US, the production is mostly based in Arizona and California, with Texas being mostly focused on the production for its own needs and the needs of its urban communities first and foremost.

That’s mostly because of the climate that’s needed for such a plant.

Packaging

There’s very little machinery used to harvest and pack fennel due to its shape and delicate nature. It’s mostly harvested by hand and packed in simple cardboard boxes. The boxes are opened on the top to prevent the food from touching the ground.

The boxes are moved to the stores by trucks and that’s where the fennel can be packed individually or in smaller boxes.

Eating Fennels

The whole of the plant is edible and useable in some manner in your day to day cooking. The bulbs need to be thinly sliced and then they can be added to salads or sandwiches. It’s crunchy and adds peppery flavor to the mix.

Fennel stalks could also be used in salads mostly instead of celery. The same works for soups. The stalks could also be used as bad for roasting. It works especially well with chicken because chicken benefits the most from peppery flavor added to it.

Most of the recipes are simple enough to be used at home and you should use fennel as you do other similar vegetables.

Storage

It’s rather simple to store fennel in an ordinary paper bag and to keep it in a clear plastic bag that will then kept in a cold part of the fridge. It can be used up to 5 to 10 days depending on how fresh it was in the first place. Those coming from farmers directly will be more fresh.

Cooking

Cucumbers are a good mix to add alongside fennel and their tastes will complement each other while keeping a texture that makes it easier for you to cook and grab a quick meal. It’s also possible to add bell papers to create a similar effect but to add variety.

Fennel is also a great addition to pasta. It works best with the pasta cooked with crab meat since it will benefit from adding spicier flavor. It’s a light pasta and it’s best served when the weather is warmer.

Roasted fennel can also be a good side dish with shrimps and citrus. All three can be prepared at the same pat and the meal is enough to keep you full in small portions.

Nutrition

Fennel also contains:  phosphorous, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, niacin, pantothenic, acid folate, choline, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E, vitamin K.

Fennel provides high levels of dietary nitrates and is a natural source of estrogen.

When Are Fennel in Season in Texas?

One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas.

Nutrition

DV%

  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 27 1%
  • Carbs: 6.3g 2%
  • Sugar: 0g 0
  • Fiber: 2.7g 11%
  • Protein: 1.1g 2%
  • Fat: 0.2g 0%
  • Saturated Fat: 0g 0%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 45.2mg 2%
  • Vitamin C 10.4mg 17%
  • Vitamin A 117IU 2%
  • Calcium 42.6mg 4%
  • Iron 0.6mg 4%
  • Potassium 360mg 10%
  • Vitamin B6 0mg 2%
  • Folate 23.5mcg 6%
  • Magnesium 14.8mg 4%
  • Phosphorus 43.5mg 4%
  • Manganese 0.2mg 8%
  • Copper 0.1mg 3%
  • Zinc 0.2mg 1%

Seasonality

When are apples in season in Texas?

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

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