Fennel is a plant that is found several times in our Pagès infusions. Its strongly aniseed aroma is very characteristic and blends perfectly with other flavours.
Fennel, a common perennial plant on the side of the road in the South of France.
Origins of fennel
From the Latin "hay", Fennel originates from the Mediterranean basin of Europe. This plant is one of those that has travelled a lot: in Asia (and especially in China), Egypt, Greece and Italy. It has been used since ancient times as a condiment. Fennel was used by the Assyrians and Babylonians to soothe stomach aches. Later, it was found to have diuretic properties and was considered good for lithiasis and bladder pain.
It began to be cultivated in Tuscany towards the end of the Middle Ages. It is said that it was the Romans who introduced Fennel to England.
Today, Fennel is a plant that is easily found in the wild in the French countryside: it proliferates in the south of the country where its consumption is part of the popular culture.
Characteristics of fennel
Name: Foeniculum vulgare
Species: Perennial plant
Fennel is a large perennial plant, 1 to 2 metres high. It is common in dry places and along roads in the South and West of France. It is found throughout the Mediterranean basin and is very frequently cultivated.
Its dark green leaves are extremely cut into capillary strips and are inserted on high stems erected by a wide sheath. The flowers of the Fennel are yellow and small, they are gracefully arranged in umbels. The fruit is yellowish green in colour and has five ribs.
Uses of fennel
Fennel is a well known plant from Provence region in France. Indeed, this plant is used as an aromatic herb to season fish, olives, snails and many other dishes. Its very pronounced aniseed taste blends very well with the other ingredients and is popular in the south of France with cooks but also with their gourmet customers.
Fennel is found in the kitchen, the part that is consumed as a vegetable is in fact the bulb of the plant. White and chubby, this bulb is topped by small green stems from which an aniseed aroma emerges. There are several varieties of Fennel, however, the one most often consumed is sweet Fennel.
Fennel seeds, flowers and leaves can also be consumed. They are mainly used to season dishes and hot drinks. In infusion, Fennel is often found with Mint or Lemon. The mixture of these very different flavours is original and very fresh on the palate. The flowers of Fennel have a warm and sweet aromatic flavour, they are also found in infusion.
Benefits of fennel
Fennel has several virtues. Its fruit is said to have the same properties as Apiaceae seeds, i.e. it is digestive. The fruit of Fennel is part of the so-called "four hot seeds", a mixture of seeds of Anise, Fennel, Coriander and Caraway (or Cumin) in equal parts.
Fennel is generally known to be an excellent stimulant for the entire digestive system. It is said Fennel helps contractions and activates the secretion of glands in the digestive tract, while fighting against flatulence that may occur.
Fennel root is mainly used for diuretic purposes and promote lactation.