This salad is so versatile. Perfect for a summer picnic or potluck as it transports well. Add a bit of yogurt and you have a yummy breakfast or side dish for brunch. I love that it uses both the bulb/stalk and the leaves. I have a bumper crop fennel this year. It is finally established enough to be a perennial that overwinters and becomes one of the biggest herbs in the garden. Fennel is an under appreciated plant. Even the seeds and pollen are eaten. The bulb can be used raw like celery or cooked like a root vegetable. Roasted, grilled, or charred-So many ways to explore when preparing it to influence its taste and texture. The added benefit of it supporting digestion and easing any stomach complaints. I use it a lot in preparations for children or for when aging has diminished metabolic fire.
Fennel and Apple Salad
1 large apple coarsely chopped
1/2 cup of coarsely chopped celery
1/2 cup of coarsely chopped fennel bulb
1/4 cup of golden Raisin
1/4 cup of chopped dried apricot
1-2 TBSP of finely chopped crystalized ginger root.
1 TBSP of finely chopped fennel leaves
1-2 TBSP of lemon juice
1/2 cup of slivered almonds
1/8 tsp almond extract
1 cup of cooked oat groats-chewy
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir well.
Foeniculum is a member of the parsley/carrot family that is often found in colonies. It is important to identify this herb accurately, even if growing in an urban yard or garden. Warmer climates produce a perennial almost 5 feet tall. A carrot shaped root is below the ground. When very mature the stem can form a large white “bulb” (like celery) at its base. There are 2-5 hollow, pithy, finely grooved bright/jade green stalks with bluish stripes. Some plants appear to have a waxy/white “bloom”. The leaves grow from the center/basal (immature) or branch off upper stalks as wide alternate sheaths (mature) that wrap around the outside. Leaf shape is pinnate, very compound, and constructed of numerous threadlike filiform segments (like some ferns or asparagus). Compound umbels produce yellow flowers in late summer or early fall. When cut, torn, or rubbed the plant parts produce a strong licorice scent. Fennel seeds are light green (becoming a bit yellow as they dry/mature) oblong, dense and a good size.
Caution: Poison hemlock and fennel are easy to confuse. Hemlock will have purple blotches/spots on the stalks, leaves that lacy/broader/more triangular, white flowers, and an unpleasant scent. Poison hemlock and young dying fennel in the fall can be especially hard to tell apart. When in doubt crush plant material or seeds with the foot and smell without touching the plant.
Foeniculum is well know as a remedy for stomach and intestinal complaints. It has been used to treat abdominal cramps, bloating, indigestion, nausea, constipation, heartburn, bad breath, gas, and colic. It expels mucus, relaxes bronchi and clears congestion in the lungs. It relieves a horse throat, moves stagnation in the liver, and increases the flow of breast milk. This herb may help stabilize blood sugar levels, Chewing dried fennel seeds stimulates the digestive juices, helps digest fats, assists in the assimilation of food and treats bad breath. As an infusion it serves as a diuretic for kidney stones and gout. As a weak tea it can lower fever, reduce teething pain, and stop hiccups in children.
Parts Used: Leaves and seeds
Energetics: sweet, warm, moist
Spiritual and Emotional Uses: To move stagnant energy and bring sweetness and freshness back into life. To restore trust, security and purity to a relationship. To repel negative energies.
Contraindications: Avoid therapeutic doses in pregnancy. Excess consumption can stimulate the nervous system.