How to Preserve Fennel for Winter Use
Answered by: Yvonne Tremblay
Question from: No Name Given
Posted on: October 16, 2003

I have had an herb garden for several years, but this is my first time for fennel. Can you tell me if I should dry it or freeze to for winter use?

Herb fennel, of which there are two types – green and bronze can be preserved in much the same way as other herbs (see Q&A on "Preserving Fresh Herbs" at http://www.richters.com/show.cgi?page=./QandA/Culinary/20030908-2.html). Try both freezing and drying and compare the results for your own preference. You may also want to try making an herb vinegar using white wine vinegar (see Q&A on "Herb Vinegars" at http://www.richters.com/show.cgi?page=./QandA/Culinary/20030922-3.html) for salad dressing or to splash on vegetables.

Both types of fennel have much the same licorice-like taste. (Vegetable fennel is a different plant and is grown for its bulbous root.) In some areas, fennel is a hardy perennial (to Zone 6) and an annual in colder areas. It has wispy, feather-like leaves (similar to dill) and is best grown in full sun though it does tolerate some shade. Like most herbs, it prefers well-draining soil. Fennel, from the umbellifer family like dill, caraway and coriander, also yields edible seeds.

Chopped fennel leaves can be added to sauces and in dips, with fish, pork, eggs, in salads, in breads, with potatoes, rice, lentils, grain dishes, sauerkraut, cabbage, beets, etc. Seeds can be used in breads, cakes, cookies, whole or ground.

For more information on freezing and drying herbs as well as how to make herb oils, vinegars, butters, mustards, etc. please see preview of my book, Thyme in the Kitchen – Cooking with Fresh Herbs (may be ordered from Richters) by visiting: www.yvonnetremblay.com.

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