Grow to Love .... Fennel

Grow to Love... Fennel

Why love … Fennel?


It has a unique, unmistakeable, aniseed tinged flavour. Prepare to be seduced by its quirkiness and its magnificent range of uses, from flavouring fish to chocolate cake.

It’s the original ‘do it all’ plant. The bulb and stalks can be cooked as a root vegetable, the leaves are an aromatic herb and the seeds can be used to flavour practically anything.

The Florence fennel bulb is high in iron, potassium and vitamin C. It’s sharp and excellent with fish and can be boiled, steamed, grilled, roasted or eaten raw to give a salad that extra bit of bite.

Did you know? 


  • Florence fennel has only become popular in the UK recently but it has been eaten for centuries in Italy where it is called finocchio.
  • In Greece it is known as marathon and gave its name to the place where the famous Battle of Marathon was fought in 490BC, due to the quantities that grew there.
  • The seeds are traditionally served in India to freshen the breath after a meal.

Top tips


  • Florence fennel is at home with almost any type of fish, but it also loves to share a dish with rich flavoured meats like lamb and pork.
  • For a versatile side-dish, briefly blanch then roast chunky slices of fennel much as you would potatoes, until golden and serve with fish.
  • Try slicing a few bulbs thinly, coating them with olive oil and frying them with a pork or beef steak.
  • Fennel makes a terrific salad, thinly sliced and simply dressed with a classic vinaigrette.
  • Give fennel a try in a desert - bake slices in with your chocolate cake to give it a different tang.

Recipe suggestions

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