Anyone who knows me well has seen me snacking often on raw fennel. Fennel looks kind of like celery (only it has a bulb at the bottom which I also find to be the tastiest and yes crunchiest part of it to munch on) and it tastes like licorice-black licorice- also another favorite flavor of mine.
When I make my famous salads for dinner parties I always sneak a little fennel into it as the ‘magic ingredient’ -unless of course you are not a licorice fan, then of course magic is not the word that is used to describe this flavor. But I digress, if you are a fan of licorice flavor read on.
Fennel is not only delicious but versatile. It can be eaten cooked or raw and its juice contains some valuable constituents.
The nutrients are similar to those in celery, which belongs to the same family, but it is the essential oil anise that is the basis for its good action on an upset stomach and its stimulating properties. The oil is present in relatively large amounts, from 3-6% of the total weight.
The Greeks called fennel ‘marathon’ because they thought that it can help keep you slim. The Emperor Charlemagne thought fennel gave courage and was good for the eyes. Bedrooms were protected from the evil spirits of the night by placing fennel in the keyholes.
When I lived in India, after every meal fennel seeds were passed around the table to be chewed, because it facilitates digestion and helps to keep bad breath at bay.
Blended with carrot juice, fennel is very good for night blindness (high in beta carotene). Also if you add beet juice the tonic is even more potent and it is thought to create a good remedy for anemia.
The nutritional analysis of fennel leaves reveals an excellent quantity of iron (2.7mg per 100g), high calcium (109mg per 100g) and a very impressive supply of the following vitamins: beta carotene (4. 7mg per 100g), folic acid (100 micrograms per 100g) and vitamin C (93.0mg per 100g).