FINNOCHIO BULB FENNEL (Foeniculum vulgare), is a Florence type fennel grown for the delicious anise-flavored and fragrance bulbous base of the stalk which is crisp and juicy. This variety is an Italian heirloom that is extremely popular there, but less well-known here in the States. The hollow stalks are also eaten (and make a nice treat for your bunny). Fresh in salads or roasted with a light brushing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar or dipped in your favorite dip, the aroma and flavor are heavenly. My personal favorite way to prepare is in a Roasted Fennel & Salmon sauteed with carrot & onion, served on a bed of the fennel foliage. The foliage is feathery like other fennel and can also be used (as well as the seeds) in teas. Promotes digestion. Needs consistent watering. Grows 3' and is a tender perennial grown as an annual. 80 days, but you can pick it earlier for baby bulbs. 50 seeds.
MEDICINAL: Fennel seed is a natural expectorant. Brew 1.5 teaspoons per cup of boiling water. Add raw honey to taste and sip to clear congestion.
GROWING TIPS: A cool season crop, it is best direct-seeded as they tend to bolt if roots are disturbed. Prefers a loose, rich soil. Allow the base to swell then hill the soil up around to form the bulbs and pick when ready.