Fennel recipes & how to cook it

Fennel is in season during late autumn, winter and early spring. Get our top tips for buying and storing, plus our favourite fennel recipes.
Published 2 September 2018 | Updated 23 April 2024
Pork and caraway stuffed baby fennel

Fennel is a highly nutritious and versatile vegetable with a crunchy texture and slightly sweet flavour. It is rich in fibre, which can help improve your digestion and prevent constipation. Fennel also contains antioxidants and other essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, potassium, and calcium. These nutrients can support your overall health and potentially decrease your risk of developing certain health conditions such as heart disease and osteoporosis.

How to buy, store and cook 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. For the best flavour, use fennel within three days of purchase. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge.

4. 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.

5. The bulb can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in soups, stews and pasta dishes. Don’t throw out the leafy tops (fronds), you can use them like herbs. Fennel goes well with poultry, pork and fish.

6. 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.

In season during: Autumn, winter and spring.