Useful information

Fennel in the garden and on the table

Fennel is, unfortunately, a rather rare guest in our gardens. But in Mediterranean cuisine, it is a popular vegetable plant. The overgrown base of the rosette leaves is used as a vegetable. In medicine, fruits are most often used. It is from them that dill water is made, which is used as a carminative (remedy for bloating) for small children. They are also the raw material for the essential oil industry. As recent studies have shown, fennel essential oil has many beneficial properties. We will talk about this multifaceted plant, as well as what and how to use it with it.

 

Common fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

 

Looks like dill ...

In appearance, fennel resembles dill, only very well-fed, but the smell is rather aniseed, which very many do not like.

Fennel ordinary (Foeniculum vulgare) - perennial, and in our area more often - a biennial herb up to 2 meters high from the celery family, and according to the old - umbrella. The leaves are three-fold, four-pinnate with long filamentous lobules, the flowers are yellow, small, located at the tops of the stems in the form of flat compound umbrellas. The fruit is an oblong, glabrous, greenish-brown two-seed, about 8 mm long. The mass of 1000 seeds is 3.5-6.5 g. It blooms in July-August, the fruits ripen in August-September. In the first year of life, as a rule, it first forms a rosette, and in areas with a long daytime it quickly turns to flowering - refers to the so-called long-day plants. Otherwise, instead of a fleshy rosette, lanky frail peduncles will grow. With this feature, it resembles a radish and salad.

 

This must be taken into account when determining the timing of sowing vegetable fennel - sow either very early, even better through seedlings, or already in the middle of summer. The vegetable variety of fennel is generally grown as an annual - 3-4 months after sowing, the plants form a fleshy head of leaf stalks. From the second year of life in June, it blooms and forms seeds.

The homeland of common fennel is the Mediterranean and Western Asia. But it is grown all over the world - in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. On the territory of the former USSR, Ukraine was the main fruit producer. Currently, in Russia, it is grown mainly in the southern regions.

At home, in the Mediterranean, fennel had a mystical meaning. A number of beliefs were associated with him. For example, the Greeks believed that Prometheus brought fire by using a giant fennel stalk for the torch (it really can reach a height of 2-3 m in its homeland).

Marathon, which means "fennel field" - a place in the eastern part of Attica. Here in 409 BC. the Greeks defeated the Persians. Well, what happened next, even a child knows. Therefore, fennel is associated with the ancient Greeks with courage, victory and success.

Roman gladiators diligently ate fennel and rubbed it with juice in order to return alive from a duel.

Common fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

There are quite a large number of subspecies and forms of common fennel. Basically, two varieties are known. The first, the so-called bitter fennel (Foeniculum vulgare ssp.vulgare var.vulgare, or sometimes they writeFoeniculum vulgare var. amara) has a pungent camphor aroma and contains about 18-20% fenchone. In most countries, varieties and forms are used as a source of medicinal raw materials Foeniculum vulgare MILLER ssp. vulgare (MILL.) THELL. varieties of fennel sweet (Foeniculum vulgare ssp.vulgare var.dulce (MILL.) BATT. et TRAB.), which is characterized by a sweet aniseed aroma and very low fenchone content. They even have separate pharmacopoeial monographs in the EU countries, that is, from a medical point of view, these are two different products. Only sweet fennel is used in aromatherapy.

In North Africa, wild fennel is found in dry meadows and along roads - Foeniculum vulgare ssp. piperitum (UCRIA) COUT.

As for the varieties, a fairly large number of them have been bred for medicinal purposes in the EU countries: in Hungary - Budakalazi (Budakalassky is one of the oldest varieties), Fonicia, Soroksari, in Germany - Berfena, Grossfruchtige (Large-fruited), Magnafena, as well as their own varieties by Martin Bauer Foenimed and Foenipharm, in Bulgaria - Mestno mnogogodischno (Local long-term), in Romania - Romanese (Romanian), in the Czech Republic - Moravski (Moravian).

Hurry to the garden

It is not difficult to grow this plant. Fennel is a relatively thermophilic and light-loving plant. In the open field, biennial forms winter well only in the southern strip.

Fennel is a drought-resistant plant, however, in the period from sowing to the formation of a rosette, it requires increased soil moisture. The minimum temperature for seed germination is + 6 + 8 ° C. In moist soil at a temperature of + 15 + 16 ° C, they germinate on the fifth day. Fennel suffers noticeably from early spring frosts. During the ripening period, it requires dry, sunny and hot weather.

Fennel is very sensitive to soil conditions. High yields can be obtained only on highly fertile, humus, chernozem soils, on a high agricultural background with the use of increased doses of fertilizers. It is not recommended to apply organic fertilizers under fennel on fertile soils, as they contribute to an increase in the vegetative mass, while reducing the yield of fruits and the yield of essential oil. But on poor soddy-podzolic soils, this rule can be safely violated and rotted compost can be introduced not only for nutrition, but also to improve the structure of the soil. On fertile soils, organic fertilizers are best applied under the precursor of fennel.

But the most important fertilizers for fennel are phosphate fertilizers. They contribute to the formation of a large number of large and aromatic seeds. Therefore, add phosphorus (superphosphate) when preparing the site for fennel and add a little extra superphosphate a couple of times over the summer with abundant watering.

In early spring, seeds are sown in rows on a sunny site. The distance between the rows is 50-60 cm, the seeding depth is 1.5-2 cm. To speed up the emergence of seedlings, at home, the seeds can be soaked in water for a day, periodically changing it. A very good effect is obtained by soaking in growth stimulants, which are now widely represented in our market, and then washing the seeds several times in water. After that, the seeds should be slightly dried to a loose state and can be sown. The emerging seedlings are very similar to dill, only larger.

Care is the simplest - weeding, loosening, in case of drought, watering is necessary (then the greens will be tender for a long time), because you can use not only fruits.

Greens are harvested as needed all summer, but seeds are most likely to be obtained only next year. If we are talking about the Non-Black Earth Zone, then its cultivation can only be amateurish here, since it does not winters and bears fruit every year.

I want to warn you right away that when grown in our northern conditions in some winters, this plant does not withstand the winter cold, and as a result, the seed harvest in some years may not be obtained. What to do, as pundits say - "a zone of risky farming." Therefore, it is better to sow plants every year and leave an emergency supply of seeds so as not to be left without seed. But remember that it is better not to store the seeds for more than 2 years, so the "stash" must be constantly updated.

In order to improve seed setting, plants can be treated with a weak solution of boric acid purchased at a pharmacy during the budding phase. Experienced gardeners successfully use this technique on tomatoes.

Like other umbellate aethernose, flowering and maturation of seeds in umbrellas of different orders is extremely uneven. The flowers appear first, the fruits are tied and ripen on the central umbrellas, and then alternately on the umbrellas of the first, second and third orders. Ripe fruits crumble very much, so the fennel is harvested in a separate way. Plants are cut when the fruits of the central and first-order umbrellas reach a yellowish-brown color, which corresponds to the waxy ripeness of the seeds. Umbrellas at this time in the total mass acquire a grayish-ash hue.

They are laid out in a loose layer in a well-ventilated area, dried, and then threshed and sieved, separating the chaff.

The medicinal raw material of fennel is, as already mentioned, fruits. Medieval herbalists believed that they should be collected on the growing moon, then they have more power. Now, naturally, no one adheres to this rule, but the quality requirements are expressed in the content of active substances. The finished raw material must contain at least 3% essential oil, not more than 14% moisture, not more than 1% damaged and underdeveloped fruits, not more than 1% essential oil impurity. In pharmacies, they are stored in well-sealed cans or cans, in warehouses - in bags.

Fennel on the table

Common fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

In culinary terms, fennel is no less useful than as a medicinal plant. Its aromatic and delicate greens, containing carotene and vitamin C, will make any spring salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and radishes very unusual. Crushed seeds are added to fish dishes, especially carp, soups, sauces. Unripe umbrellas are added to marinades, when canning vegetables and pickling cabbage. Fennel is found in many spirits, primarily liqueurs. In some countries, it is even added to cookies.

And vegetable fennel can be eaten raw, boiled or pickled. But this is already a chapter from a cookbook.

Here is a very simple recipe that even a child can implement, although it is children who do not like fennel because of the aniseed smell. Wash the vegetable fennel head and slice it very thinly across. Season with salt, press a little with a fork to make juice, and season with a mixture of lemon juice and olive oil.

As a side dish, fennel can be stewed and baked either alone or with other vegetables.

Cm. Chicken fillet with juniper berries, ginger and fennel seeds

Pork in jelly with fennel, wild garlic, ginger and cinnamon

Pickled salmon with juniper and fennel sauce

Flounder rolls with pesto, fennel and saffron

Fennel stew with wine and nigella

Salad with fennel, radicchio, nuts and gorgonzola

Fennel dumplings baked under a fur coat

Warm salad with fennel, radish, capers and seafood

Spicy spicy olives

Cabbage salad with fennel

Vinegar with herbs "Czech"

Lemon iced tea with fennel

Fennel salad

Celery and fennel soup

Apple salad with fennel

Fennel Pumpkin Soup

Bun with fennel and smoked salmon

Continued - in the article Fennel essential oil and more.