I want to grow what feeds my family, but secretly I want the garden to look jaw-droppingly gorgeous too. They are basically free plants, so I wanted to get the most out of them and explore what bronze fennel can do. If you live in Zones 6 or warmer, you may choose to keep the fennel growing by lightly mulching it for the winter. Oh, and let me mention—it’s a beautiful plant! The whole plant—whether it’s the green or bronze-colored form—has a licorice or sweet anise flavor and fragrance, and a little goes a long way in flavoring salad dressings, salads, butters, oils and sugars. And this may be due partly to the fact that in outlying areas even the deer don’t eat it. Store fresh Bronze fennel in the refrigerator, where it will last for up to 5 days. It tastes like celery and is a fabulous befriender of beneficial insects who flock to it. Bronze fennel is not the bulb variety that you are used to seeing as a salad or vegetable side, it is an herb variety that can be completely utilized. Their small yellow flowers are borne in 6-inch umbels in midsummer. Fennel is definitely one of those plants equally at home in the vegetable and flower garden. Since that pesto-making adventure, I’ve actually left a few bronze fennel seedlings to grow. With regard to my Pacific Northwest garden, my response to concerns about any over-zealousness is similar to what I say about parsley, kale and other eager edibles: if it’s overrunning the garden, you’re just not eating enough of it. First, let me explain fennel a bit. Become a registered user and get access to exclusive benefits like... © 2006-2020 Bloomington Brands, LLC. Fennel is a hugely versatile vegetable that grows easily, keeps well, and forms the basis of many dishes, from appetisers to desserts, particularly in Italian cuisine.. Imparting distinctive, yet subtle aniseed notes that vary in intensity, depending on whether it's eaten raw or cooked, knowing how to use fennel gives you access to a wonderfully useful vegetable. You can also dry them and roast a whole fish or rack of lamb on them. And despite last year’s record-breaking drought, it didn’t wince despite virtually never being watered. Herb or sweet fennel and blushing bronze fennel are taller plants that soften any scene with their feathery texture. Growing bronze fennel not only add flavors to your dishes but it can also color, texture and movement to your ornamental gardens Fennel also produces beautiful umbel flowers like Queen Anne’s Lace. Add seeds and chopped fronds to salmon cakes. As editor of GardenWise magazine for over a decade, and editor of gardenwiseonline.ca, she focused on organic gardening in British Columbia. Fennel typically grows to about 3 ft. tall. Originally published in BC Home & Garden magazine. And thank your neighbor for the seedlings! Finely chop the fronds over seafood and summer salads. However, my neighbor’s bronze fennel has got to be nearing 6 ft. if an inch. Sometimes as a gardener of edibles I’m a bit of an egomaniac. When you sign up, you’ll get our exclusive newsletter, bursting with gardening articles, videos, and tips. We like to use the stems to infuse stocks and sauces with the plants flavor. Bronze fennel is an allrounder. The seeds may also be used to make fennel tea. The licorice-tasting seeds can be strewn over bread dough while the fronds add flavour to hearty winter soups (Left Image: Flickr / Adam Patterson). I’ve used it for tea, drenching the foliage with hot water and sipping the licorice-laced liquid that follows. Once I put my mind to making good use of this plant, I found there was an almost unlimited list of how to savour this gift from the garden: Lovage: I’ve talked before about this garden superstar, edible from root to leaves to seeds. And if it does, even when it’s no thanks to me, I’ll take the credit with no reservations whatsoever. The flower stalks collected just before they bloom can be eaten like celery. Bulb fennel How to Harvest Fennel Pollen . We use the tender fronds in green leafy salads or chop them and add them to potato salad. Harvest leaves anytime during the growing season, keeping in mind to never harvest more than a third of the leaves at one time—it’ll slow the plant’s growth. I also think it’s so big because she may have been able to overwinter this tender perennial—meaning, it was already established from last year. I’ll have to give that a try! My first experience with cooking fennel was lightly coating thin slabs of it with crumbs and pan frying—it was delightful. Each year’s food garden has both its dynamic and dodgy moments, but there is invariably a particular high spot July through September when bronze fennel blazes upward, a mass of ferny garden architecture culminating in mustard-yellow crowns of blossoms followed by star-like webs of green and yellow seeds. World Rights Reserved. Collect 'bulb' as soon as big enough to be useful. Bronze fennel, an incredible edible, is the perfect fix for the seedy side of your garden where nothing else dares to grow. Its flavor goes well with other key savory seasonings like garlic and pepper. Use bronze fennel in exactly the same ways as the 'normal' fennel. Bronze fennel seeds may be used in baked goods like breads and biscuits. The herb fennels grow from 4 to 6 feet tall and have hollow stems and feathery foliage like that of dill. Collect seeds as they mature. Carol Pope is co-author (with Sharon Hanna) of the newly released The Book of Kale & Friends: 14 Easy-to-Grow Superfoods (Douglas & McIntyre). Or, you could harvest the whole plant when the bulb is about 4 in. I think that’s because it’s growing in the ideal conditions for that plant—well-drained, fertile soil with lots of organic matter, full sun (at least six hours each day) and consistently moist soil. Bronze fennel leaves make an attractive garnish for salad, pasta and rice dishes. And who knew that this magnesium-rich, digestion-enhancing mega-plant is so healthy and useful in the kitchen? Thanks to my community garden neighbor who is growing dill and fennel, I had A LOT of those little guys in my own plot. Chop fronds over roasting potatoes or vegetables. Chop bronze fennel finely for use in marinades. In fact, bronze fennel (Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’) is so hardy and prolific that it can be a bit of a problem in some gardens and even considered an invasive down south. They may be used in Italian sausages, and pair well with other vegetables like carrots, beets and jicama. Bronze fennel will lavishly self-seed around if happy: to prevent this, remove the seedheads as they turn brown. It’s a tender perennial that is hardy to about Zone 6, and is typically grown for its bulb (especially the green form of the plant) but the frilly fronds and tender stems can be used in the kitchen, too. F. vulgare has blue-green leaves whereas those of bronze fennel are coppery brown. To dry Bronze fennel seeds, cut the entire head of the flower off the plant when its seeds are still immature and green. Store in your basement or garage to dry slowly and then shake the bag and pluck off the stubborn remaining seeds a few weeks later. Bronze fennel is great for this type of application. She has 25 years of experience in editing, garden writing and organic gardening.

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