I planted some fennel seeds, just because they were free with a magazine and I had a bit of spare room after harvesting my potatoes.  Most of them germinated but were promptly mown down by an over athletic fox who has decided that particular raised bed is the best place to jump our hedge.  So only three plants survived and, frankly, I forgot all about them until now.  Exactly how big are they supposed to get, anyway?  The bulbs are at least 12 inches wide and nearly twice that high and the foilage is like a bush.That definitely seems to be a lot bigger than any pictures I'm seeing. Why am I looking at pictures in the first place? Because I have absolutely no idea what to do with fennel anyway so was googling for recipies... Does anyone know whether you can make fennel wine? 


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,838

    Is this Florence fennel (the sort you use as a vegetable) or is it the herb variety?

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • star gaze lilystar gaze lily Posts: 11,112

    II've got some fennel just for display, it grew to about 6ft tall this year and attracts bees and butterflies etc. Don't use it for anything tho. image


    Brumbull where do you find all your animated pics fromimageimage

  • KEFKEF Posts: 8,915

    I've never had much luck growing herb fennel, just got loads of white fly.

  • KEFKEF Posts: 8,915

    Wonder if fennel wine tastes like pastis / pernod / ouzo...If so I'll try harder next year.

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,191

    Bulb fennel is best eaten when the white, fleshy part gets about as wide as a tennis ball and no wider than 4"/10cms.   Dig it up with a fork then trim off the roots at the base.   The white part is cooked and the green frothy frondy bits can be used as a garnish or in salads but the green stems are best composted.

    Baked Fennel with Goat's Cheese 4 or more, depending

     This quantity is for 4 as a vegetarian meal. It's also good with simply grilled pork, chicken or fish and will then feed 6 to 8. 

    4              bulbs of fennel
    30g          butter
    1              lemon, juice only
    4 tbs        water
    6              sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
    30g          pine nuts
    150g         goats' cheese log

    Heat the oven to 200C.   Trim the fennel and cut through the middle into 2 and then cut each half again 2 or 3 times to make wedges.   Place these in a shallow oven-proof dish.  Sprinkle on the lemon juice and water and cook in the microwave for 10 minutes.   Drain.

     Slice the tomatoes and sprinkle over the fennel, followed by the pine nuts and crumbled goats' cheese.   Drizzle with olive oil (from the tomatoes if you have some) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes till the cheese is browned.

    It's also good raw, sliced thinly in salads and there are plenty more recipes here - http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/search/recipes?query=fennel&=Search 


    The Vendée, France
  • star gaze lilystar gaze lily Posts: 11,112

    Thanks Brumbull,  might not be able to see it for awhile, as my PMs are not working at the moment. image

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    Those huge fennel bulbs will be pretty woody and unusable by now I would think, but next time harvest them much earlier and use to make the 'soffrito' for Risotto. This is the mix of finely chopped onions, garlic and either celery or fennel that you cook in a generous slurp of olive oil/butter for about 20 mins before adding the Arborio rice for 3 mins, then a slurp of white wine or dry Vermouth and then gradually adding the stock and whatever else; mushrooms/ squash/ chicken...whatever type of rissotto you are making.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,055

    That sounds nice artjak, I'll remember that.

    Finely chopped in the mixalizer or is that too fine?

  • Thanks so much for all the answers. I suspect I have definitely let them grow too large to eat but I think I'll try the wine recipe and cross my fingers. By the time it's ready to drink I'll have eaten so many mince pies that I'll probably be in a good position to test whether it really does work as a slimming aid image


  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    Nut, I just cut them by hand, but you could do it on the 2mm slicer. I think any finer and they would turn to mush.

  • I grew some Jamie Oliver Fennel seeds this year, They produced a lovely crop. Fennel needs a warm sheltered spot and regular watering. I find the bulbs are better lifted when they are quite small, about tennis ball sized. if allowed to grow too big they become tough. Young tender bulbs make a lovely salad, I also like it braised with parmesan cheese sprinkled on at the end of cooking.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,055

    Thanks artjak, 

    The braised and the parmesan sounds nice as well Andrew.

    Not home grown 

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