Fennel Bulb

What is fennel bulb

Fennel bulb is the white part of the fennel plant, having green leaves and closely superimposed stalks. With its fresh, bright flavor and an array of nutritional benefits, this vegetable is a preferred dietary choice.

Fennel Bulb

Fennel Bulb

Other Names

  • In Spanish: Bulbo de hinojo
  • In Tagalog: Haras bombilya

 Description

What does a fennel bulb look like

This white or pale green vegetable has a bulb-like appearance, with overlapping stalks and green, feathery leaves.

What does a fennel bulb taste like

The bulb has a firm, crunchy texture and a sweet, aromatic flavor similar to licorice and anise. When cooked it attains a soft, mellow flavor.

Fennel vs. Florence Fennel

Florence fennel also referred to as the bulb Fennel or Finocchio (in Italy), belongs to the same family as the fennel but differs from the aspect that the latter is used as a herb while the former is cultivated as a vegetable.

Nutritional Data

Given is the nutritional value for one cup or 87 g of raw fennel bulb

Nutrients Amount
Vitamin A 2%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 2%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 0.6 mg (3%)
Vitamin B6 2%
Vitamin B9 ( Folate) 23.5 mcg ( 6%)
Vitamin C 10.4 mg (17%)
Sodium 45.24 mg (2%)
Iron 0.6 mg (4%)
Magnesium 14.8 mg (4%)
Manganese 0.2 mg (8%)
Phosphorous 43.5 mg (4%)
Copper 0.1 mg ( 3%)
Potassium 360.18 mg
Calcium 42.6 mg (4%)
Selenium 0.6 mcg (1%)
Carbohydrate 6.35 g (2%)
Sugars 0 g
Protein 1.1 g
Dietary Fibers 2.7 g (11%)
Calories 27 Kcal
Saturated Fat 0 g
Polysaturated Fat 0 g
Monosaturated Fat 0 g
Fennel Bulb Pictures

Fennel Bulb Pictures

Health benefits of fennel bulb: What is it good for

For bone health

Being high in certain nutrients like calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, and iron, fennel bulb helps in strengthening the bones. In fact, this property, therefore, includes it in the list of vegetables that contribute towards maintaining a sound bone health, also aiding in minimizing chances of osteoporosis and other bone-related disorders.

High in Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant, protecting the cells from free radicals, thus helping in boosting the body’s immune system. This vitamin is even responsible for combating premature ageing as it promotes collagen synthesis to make the skin firm and tight, thus minimizing wrinkles.

Hence, including fennel in your food chart would work towards promoting good health and ensure a healthy skin.

Helps in weight loss

Apart from its low calorie content, fennel bulb aids in speeding the metabolism, and breaking down body fat. This, therefore, makes it one of the preferred foods to be eaten for maintaining a fit and healthy body.

Fennel Bulbs

Fennel Bulbs

Lowers blood pressure

Since fennel bulbs are high in potassium, they act as a vasodilator, calming the tension of the blood vessels, helping in lowering the blood pressure levels. With the pressure levels being under check, risks of heart diseases are also minimized. If you are on the look out for a diet plan to keep your blood pressure in control, then include a cup of fennel bulb to your platter in the form of salads or curries on a daily basis.

Aids in digestion

Fennel bulb is rich in fiber, also containing laxative, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. Therefore, this vegetable helps in relieving gas and bloating, also assisting the muscles of the digestive system to relax. In this way, it facilitates in minimizing several digestive disorders like heartburn, and IBS.

For colon cancer

Fennel bulb is said to be beneficial in reducing colon cancer because of its high fiber content which in turn excretes the carcinogenic toxic materials from the colon. However, more studies on this are required to validate the fact.

Bulb Fennel

Bulb Fennel

How to use fennel bulb

  • Raw fennel bulb, with its fresh, firm and crispy texture is a great option for making salads when cut into thin slices. The sliced pieces form a base for pasta and soups.
  • It can serve as a great lunch or dinner side dish when grilled or braised with fish or chicken.
  • Their sweet, aromatic flavor make them be used while making desserts along with other ingredients.
  • The bulb is used for the preparation of sauce and purees.
  • It can be combined with other fruits and vegetables like apples, pears, sweet potatoes and carrots to prepare a healthy juice.
  • The fennel stalks having a similar texture as celery can be added to a broth or even in stir-fries and pasta, while the green, feathery frond may be included in salads or even used for garnishing.
Picture of Fennel Bulb

Picture of Fennel Bulb

How to Prepare and Cook Fennel Bulb

To cut

  • Remove the stalks by cutting an inch above the bulb using a sharp knife. Do away with the roots too.
  • Discard the wilted outer layers.
  • After stabling the bulb cut straight through it into halves. To make it into quarters you would need to cut straight again through the root end.

To chop

  • Take the quarters and cut them into a length of 1/8 inches or of a smaller size for finely chopped pieces and 1/4 inches or larger to get medium sized ones.
Slicing Fennel Bulb

Slicing Fennel Bulb

To slice

  • Cut the quarters into a wedge shape from the top through bottom and remove the tough core
  • Slice the bulb into thin strips after placing the half-cut pieces side down on the cutting surface.

To dice

Make thinner strips out of the sliced bulbs, turn them at an angle of 90 degrees and start cutting again.

Note: If you are not using it right away, place the sliced bulbs in a cold water bowl with lemon juice squeezed in it to prevent it from browning.

 

Roasted fennel bulb

Place the sliced fennel bulb on a baking sheet and coat with salt, pepper and olive oil. Toss the mixture manually and roast in an oven for approximately an hour, turning them after a span of thirty minutes till the edges are brown and crispy.Garnish it the way you like and serve hot.

Fennel Bulb Recipes

Fennel Bulb Recipes

Recipes

  • Fennel and Jicama Slaw with Citrus Dressing
  • Braised Fennel
  • Fennel Risotto
  • Roasted Beets Apple and Fennel
  • Baked Fennel with Parmesan and Thyme
  • French Lentils with Fennel Bulb, Grapefruit, and Avocado
  • Red Pepper and Fennel Bulb Salad
  • Grilled Fennel with Parmesan and Lemon
  • Tomato, Fennel and Crab Soup
Grilled Fennel Bulb

Grilled Fennel Bulb

Fennel Bulb Soup

Fennel Bulb Soup

Substitutes

Celery seems to be one of the perfect substitutes of fennel as it shares the firm and crunchy texture of the latter though lacking in sweetness.

Can fennel bulb be bad for you

Though it does not have any known side effects, overconsumption may result in vomiting, diarrhea, and other health hazards.

Uses during pregnancy

Being high in folate, fennel bulb may be a good dietary choice for pregnant women as it can help minimizing chances of neural tube defects. However, have a word with your doctor before including it in your diet when you are pregnant.

Fennel Flower

Fennel Flower

How to Store

Wrap the cut bulbs in moist paper towels, place them in Ziploc bags and store them in the refrigerator. They will remain fresh for at least four days. If kept longer, just peel off the outer layer in case they attain a rubbery texture.

To freeze chop the bulbs into chunks or slices, blanch for thirty seconds in boiling water, drain the liquid well and place them in freezing bags.

Where to buy

Though available all through the year in most supermarkets and grocery stores, late fall to early spring seems to be its peak time.

Because of the similarity in taste, some stores often sell the fennel bulb under the name of “anise”. However, anise does not have a big, heavy, edible bulb. Hence, a bulbous, white vegetable bearing the label anise is fennel bulb.

How to pick fresh fennel bulbs

Opt for small and younger bulbs with a heavy feel and a sweet fragrance like anise or licorice. Make sure the bulb is white and crispy, devoid of any bruises, spots, and blemishes, while the feathery leaves should be fresh and green without any yellowish tinge. If it has the stalks attached to it, they should be firm and not rubbery.

 

Fennel Bulb Plant

Fennel Bulb Plant

Interesting Facts

  • The Greeks were the first to start the cultivation of Florence fennel.
  • By the size of the bulb you can determine which gender fennel you brought home. The male bulbs look round, called “maschi”, in Italian, while the females are slightly flat , known as “femmine”

References

  1. http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/glossary/fennel-bulb
  2. http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cut-fennel-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-202598
  3. http://www.harvesttotable.com/2007/02/fennel_for_a_light_delicate_1/
  4. http://www.bhg.com/recipes/how-to/cooking-basics/how-to-chop-fennel/#page=0

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