Baby Fennel 小茴香
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Baby fennel is comprised of slender, semi-thin bulbs attached to elongated stalks, adorned with feather-like fronds. The pale green to white bulbs are smooth and firm, averaging 4 to 5 centimeters in diameter, and sometimes bear a slightly bulbous, curved shape, depending on growing conditions. The narrow stalks are also green and have an aqueous, crisp consistency, while the dark green fronds form at the top of the branched stalks. The fronds are light and frilly, similar in appearance to dill. Baby fennel emits an aromatic and fresh anise fragrance and has a crunchy texture.
Order Before Monday 12 noon, Arrive Friday
Order Before Thursday 12 noon, Arrive Next Monday
Baby fennel is comprised of slender, semi-thin bulbs attached to elongated stalks, adorned with feather-like fronds. The pale green to white bulbs are smooth and firm, averaging 4 to 5 centimeters in diameter, and sometimes bear a slightly bulbous, curved shape, depending on growing conditions. The narrow stalks are also green and have an aqueous, crisp consistency, while the dark green fronds form at the top of the branched stalks. The fronds are light and frilly, similar in appearance to dill. Baby fennel emits an aromatic and fresh anise fragrance and has a crunchy texture. The fronds, stalks, and bulbs are edible and contain an herbaceous, subtly sweet, licorice flavor combined with faint spice, vegetal, citrus nuance
Baby fennel is available year-round, with a peak season in the fall.
Baby fennel, botanically classified as Foeniculum vulgare, is the young version of the flowering fennel plant belonging to the Apiaceae family. The herbaceous perennial is harvested before reaching maturity and is favored for its delicate taste and tender nature. Baby fennel is primarily produced from Florence fennel, a type of fennel known for its edible bulb, crunchy stalks, and sweet, flavorful fronds. Florence fennel is a term used to describe varieties of cultivated fennel, and Baby fennel can be harvested from any of these similar varieties. Baby fennel is utilized by chefs for its delicate taste and texture, viewed as a spice, herb, vegetable, and garnish, and can be incorporated in any recipe calling for mature fennel.
Baby fennel is a good source of folate to produce red blood cells, vitamin C to strengthen the immune system, boost collagen production, and reduce inflammation, and potassium to balance fluid levels in the body. The young bulbs and stalks also provide some vitamin A to maintain healthy organ functioning, fiber to stimulate the digestive tract, and lower amounts of magnesium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, and copper.
Baby fennel has a fresh, licorice-like flavor with a crisp texture well-suited for both raw and cooked preparations. The bulb, stalks, and fronds complement flavors in sweet or savory dishes, and when raw, Baby fennel can be shaved or finely chopped fresh for green salads and slaws. The feathery fronds are primarily incorporated into dishes raw to retain their delicate, crisp nature and are placed as an aromatic garnish on roasted meats, vegetables, and desserts. Baby fennel can also be utilized in cooked preparations, either quartered, sliced into rings, use whole, or halved. The bulb and stalks can be simmered in soups, curries, and stews, braised with roasts, cooked and tossed into pasta, steamed with vegetables, or chopped into stir-fries. Baby fennel can also be grilled to develop a smokey undertone, cooked into risotto, or drizzled and baked in sauces made from white wine, lemon, or mustard. In addition to culinary preparations, Baby fennel is incorporated into mixology as an attractive, aromatic garnish. The fronds can be floated on cocktails or used to flavor sparkling beverages and lemonade. Baby fennel pairs well with bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, radishes, meats such as pork, poultry, and beef, seafood, herbs including parsley, dill, chervil, and basil, avocado, citrus, cucumbers, and salty cheeses like pecorino, parmesan, goat, and feta. The bulb, stalks, and fronds will keep 4 to 5 days when stored unwashed in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator's crisper drawer.
Baby fennel is produced from cultivated varieties of fennel that are descendants of wild plants native to the Mediterranean. Throughout history, wild fennel has been a part of several myths and legends of Ancient Greece. One of the most retold legends iolves wild fennel fields, war, and the town of Marathon. Legend has it that there was a great battle between the Greeks and the Persians in a field full of fennel. After the Greek’s victory over the Persians, they harvested fennel stalks from the fiand wove them together to create a new symbol of their victory. Pheidippides, a famous Greek runner, also supposedly ran 42 km, or 26 miles, to Athens to announce the victory over the Persians. Marathon in Greek means “a place, with fennel,” and this story is one of the theories of origin for the modern-day Marathon. The first official Marathon was held in 1896 during the Olympic games.
Fennel is native to Southern Europe and the Mediterranean region, where it has been growing wild since ancient times. The herbaceous plant was slowly cultivated for thousands of years, developing new varieties with improved flavor, texture, and plant size. Over time, fennel has become naturalized in regions worldwide and favors mild, sunny climates near rivers, oceans, and seas with dry soil. Today Baby fennel is produced in areas growing full-sized fennel, but the younger versions are considered a speclty crop cultivated on a limited scale for distributors and local farmer’s markets. Baby fennel can be found in the United States, grown mainly in California, Southern Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia.