Top tips for buying and preparing fennel
1. When buying fennel look for a bulb that’s firm with bright, fresh looking fronds.
2. To prepare, remove the outer layer of the bulb as it can be tough. Trim a thin slice from the base. Halve fennel from top to bottom and use a sharp knife to remove the pyramid-shaped core. Slice as required.
3. Fennel is used in some countries to help with digestion. In Italy, it’s eaten raw at the end of a meal and in India the seeds are chewed after eating.
4. For the best flavour, use fennel within three days of purchase. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge.
5. You can use fennel seeds to make a tea that helps digestion. Just before brewing, bruise the seeds in a mortar and pestle. Use 1 tsp of seeds to one cup water. Using a teapot, infuse in boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain and serve hot.
6. The bulb can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in soups, stews and pasta dishes. Don’t throw out the leafy tops (fronds), they can use them like herbs. Fennel goes well with poultry, pork and fish.
In season during: Autumn, winter and spring.