Highlighted Food: Fennel

Each week I will pick a food to focus on and share with you all. You'll learn the highlighted foods many virtues, what it has to offer in terms of healing, and its nutritive value. I'll also add in a few ideas on how to prepare it. 

This week I'd like to turn the spotlight on lovely fennel. Have you cooked with fennel before? It is a superstar in my book and oh so healing in a foundational way. I often focus heavily in my nutrition practice on clients ability to digest their food. After all if you aren't breaking all that goodness out of the food it isn't doing you as much good as you think and may even do a little damage along the way out (irritating your intestines).

One of fennel's abilities is to aid in toning and strenghtening the stomach. A toned stomach helps you break your food down into the tiny components your intestines are primed to absorb. Fennel is also soothing to the intestines, helping to relieve spasms or cramps. Fennel helps to expel gas. Fennel contains a compound to relieve or soothe pain. Fennel is an excellent source of Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. It also supplies a decent amount of phosphorus and folate. In the mineral department, fennel is a good source of magnesium, manganese, iron, calcium, and molybdenum. Do you see why fennel may make a helpful addition to your meals? It's no wonder it is a favorite in so many dishes around the world!

If you've never cooked with fennel, you may never have had to pick it out at the store. You'll want to select fennel with both the bulb and stems for maximum freshness. It should be whitish or pale green and its stalks should be firm, not limp or bending. Flowering buds indicate it is past its maturity. Use within 3 days of purchase and keep in your crisper.

To prepare, cut the stalks away from the bulb (these can be used for soups, stews, stocks) and slice vertically through the bulb. Be sure to remove the harder core before cutting into it. 

You can slice raw fennel and serve with avocado, oranges, and greens to create a fresh salad.

Braised fennel goes very well along side fish.

Try something new, and add slices of fennel to a sandwich in place of lettuce and tomato. 

If you give fennel a try this week, please share how you've enjoyed it. Have any favorite fennel preparations? Comment below. I'd love to hear them!