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The high nutritional value of fennel

The term “fennel” primarily refers to the plants bearing the same name. It grows naturally, of course, but it can also be farmed. On the other hand, the fennel bud—the cluster of white leaves around the plant—and seeds are used in cooking. The first is used to prepare wonderful herbal teas, especially scented ones. Rather, the second is thought to be the only component that is actually edible. The grumolo, as previously said, is essentially a dense, extremely fleshy pair of leaf gloves stacked on top of one another. In this article, we will talk exclusively about the fennel bud.

It is characterised not only by a delicious and distinctly aromatic flavour but also by its high nutritional value. The reference is to vitamins and mineral salts. Fennel contains a lot of potassium, a lot of vitamin E and vitamin C, as well as some vitamins in group B. There is also a fair amount of flavonoids and antioxidants that are good for the body.

In addition, fennel has an extremely low calorie content—9 kcal per 100 grammes—which is nearly unheard of in the vegetable world. Although the fennel plant grows year-round, the bud is harvested approximately three months after sowing.

The characteristics of the different varieties of fennel

The varieties of fennel are not that numerous and are mainly distinguished by the ripening period, the shape, and only partially by the flavour. Here are the most popular ones:

  • Summer Rondo: The lumps have an almost ethereal white colour and a highly spherical form. It has a medium-sweet flavour.
  • Winter servant: The bud is very large and slightly ovoid in shape. The flavour is both sweet and aromatic.
  • Autumnal carmo: It is characterised by its accentuated dimensions and a very large and heavy lump. Although it retains a certain sweetness, it is still one of the most aromatic varieties.

How is it cooked?

Fennel is generally eaten in salads seasoned with a little oil and vinegar rather than as a dip. This does not mean, however, that it cannot be used for slightly more complex preparations. There are a few intriguing ones in this section. I’m talking about a kind of bright, fragrant soup. The salad is relatively simple to prepare, but it’s also interesting from an organoleptic perspective.

It can also be a risotto ingredient. The same is true of some well-known cuisine adaptations for vegetarians. I’m referring to vegetarian carbonara, which uses this vegetable to replace bacon.

Here are some delicious recipes:

In the kitchen, fennel is a valuable ally, even for those who enjoy trying new things. Presenting some delectable foods that can wow diners is therefore worthwhile.

Creamy fennel and prawn soup: It is a soft first course with an aromatic and delicate flavour. This recipe features audacious yet effective pairings, like the one including shrimp and fennel. The fennel is first boiled and then pan-fried with the other ingredients. Everything is then blended to create a splendid, velvety soup.

Ravioli with salmon and fennel: It is an apparently simple first course, but it offers complex aromas. The delicate aroma of the vegetable enhances the savoury and “fatty” flavour of the salmon.

Red aubergine carpaccio and fennel: It is a unique side dish, as it is based on the concept of marinating supported by red aubergines, which are among the few varieties that can be consumed raw. In addition, the marinating process gives the fennel a softer consistency and a more aromatic flavour.

Fennel and coconut pie: Among the recipes with fennel, this is one of the most intriguing of all. The filling is the result of the union with coconut and marks one of the most daring combinations imaginable.

Fennel stuffed with ricotta and speck: Here, the fennel is prepared similarly to a tomato or bell pepper; it is packed with a delicious concoction of ricotta and speck.

Sautéed fennel with tempeh and olives: It is a special side dish that combines typically Mediterranean ingredients, such as fennel, with tempeh, a preparation of oriental origin made with fermented soybeans.

What are the benefits of fennel?

As we have seen, fennel boasts a good nutritional profile, so we can openly talk about its benefits for the body. Here are the most obvious ones:

  • It helps prevent cancer: The presence of antioxidants, which maximise cellular turnover and intervene when DNA damage occurs, is responsible for this function.
  • It helps you lose weight: The issue does not only concern calorie intake, which is basically very low, but also “perceptions.” The consumption of fennel produces a sense of satiety capable of limiting hunger and discouraging snacking.
  • It helps with digestion: Like many other vegetables, fennel also stimulates digestive function by virtue of its marked abundance of fibre.
  • Promotes the production of breast milk: This is a very unique and useful function that is seen in very few other foods of plant origin.
  • Helps purify the body: Fennel is good for the liver and kidneys. The abundance of water then helps to counteract water retention and stimulate diuresis.

At this point, it is legitimate to ask: Does fennel have any contraindications? Basically, it is a safe veggie; however, excessive consumption can lead to “intestinal” consequences. The abundance of fibres sometimes turns into a double-edged sword that can have a mildly laxative effect.

Some curiosities about this excellent vegetable

How do you clean fennel?

It is very easy to clean fennel in order to prepare it for cooking or eating fresh. They need to be cleaned with running water and scraped with a small knife to remove any remaining dirt. Then the external leaves are cut and used.

Does fennel make you lose weight?

Il finocchio in sé non fa dimagrire, ossia non contiene sostanze che possano stimolare il metabolismo in modo sostanziale. Tuttavia torna utile a chi vuole perdere peso in quanto produce un senso di sazietà, che rende più facile la dieta.

Is eating too much fennel bad for you?

Fennel lacks compounds that can significantly increase metabolism; hence, by itself, it cannot aid in weight loss. Still, it is helpful for weight loss since it increases feelings of fullness, which facilitates dieting.