Fennel Seed (whole)
Dried fennel seed is an aromatic, anise-flavored spice, brown or green in color when fresh, slowly turning a dull grey as the seed ages. For cooking, green seeds are optimal. Fennel seeds should be pale yellow to green and have a characteristic ‘anise’ flavor.
Fennel, although stronger in flavor than coriander, is one of the amalgamating spices, having the ability to bring other flavors together while imparting its delicious fresh “anise” notes to sauces.
A highly aromatic and flavorful herb with culinary and medicinal uses, and, along with the similar-tasting anise, is one of the primary ingredients of absinthe.
The seed is used whole to spice sausages and meatballs, ground for tomato sauces of all kinds especially pizza sauce, and also used for pork roast. It can be used in almost all fish dishes, especially court bouillon for poaching fish and shellfish.
Recipe: Mango and Chick Pea Pickles
Fennel has an even longer history as a medicinal. The toasted seeds are often chewed as a digestive aid. Owing to the invigorating and purifying effects that fennel has over the human body it can help eliminate toxins and inflammations from the body. Fennel contains large amounts of alpha-pinene which acts as an expectorant to help reduce cold symptoms and reduce coughing.