Foraged Fennel Seeds
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Foraged fennel seeds are similar to cultivated fennel seeds, yet typically more dramatic in flavor, though season and soil also play a role in the outcome of their flavor. The seeds are ovate and pointed at both ends. Once mature, the seeds are pale copper in color, hard with a smooth, longitudinally furrowed texture. Their flavor is cool, yet warming, with overt notes of licorice and undertones of mint, cinnamon and lemon.
Foraged Fennel seeds are available primarily during late spring through early fall.
Foraged fennel seed is the seed of wild fennel, known botanically as Foeniculum vulgare. Wild fennel is a member of the Umbelliferae family, which also includes dill, anise, cumin, caraway and other herbs. Foraged (wild) fennel seeds are the source of the dried herb found in spice jars. Fennel plants produce hermaphrodite flowers, with both male and female parts. Wild fennel is known for its invasive nature as it will reproduce from both root crown and seed. Hence, the fennel seed plays an important role in the continued evolution of Wild fennel plants. All fennel seeds fall into the category of having anise-like culinary properties. This is due to their high potency of the volatile compounds anethole and estragole.
Foraged Fennel seed are a rich source of antioxidants and they contain trace amounts of minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium and potassium. In addition to minerals, the Fennel seed is extremely high in dietary fiber as it is naturally indigestible.
Foraged Fennel seeds are a very versatile pantry ingredient and can be used for both savory and sweet recipes in a variety of culinary applications including toasting, pickling, baking and roasting. As Foraged fennel seeds contain parallel flavors as baking spices, they are easily adapted to baked goods such as breads, muffins, cakes and even cookies. Fennel seeds can be used whole or ground via a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Regardless of application, prior, the seeds should be toasted to bring out their natural essential oils and aromatics. Complimentary ingredients include beets, artichokes, crosnes, endive, cabbage, especially savoy, chicories, fresh herbs such as basil, mint, tarragon and parsley and spices such as caraway, cumin and mustard seed. Foraged fennel seeds are a perfect garnish for seafood, especially crustaceans and bivalves.
Fennel seeds are used in many traditional breads including Swedish rye bread called Limpa or in conventional Italian sausage recipes.
The Fennel plant originated in the southern Mediterranean region and through naturalization and cultivation, grows wild throughout the Northern, Eastern and Western hemispheres, specifically Asia, North America and Europe. Fennel seeds appear at the end of the plant's life cycle and they are also responsible for its birth. Seeds are dispersed by both nature and animals, returning the seeds to the soil and sprouting new plants without discrimination to season in the temperate climates that fennel naturally grows in.
Recipes that include Foraged Fennel Seeds. One is easiest, three is harder.
|The Kitchn||Cornmeal Fennel Cookies|
|The Kitchn||Authentic Chai|