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Fennel Seeds come in many shapes and sizes. Ours are a vibrant Green, and with Jumbo sized seeds. These are a common staple in Indian and Mediterranean spice racks, and recently have brown in popularity worldwide. Fennel is highly versatile, and can be used similarly to other seeds - lightly frying or freshly grind to release all the flavours and aroma within.
Fennel seeds are the dried seed of the fennel herb, and look like cumin seeds, only greener. They have an aniseed flavour and a warm, sweet aroma. They can be used on their own or in spice mixes such as Chinese five-spice powder and Indian panch phoran.
You’ll get more flavour out of fennel seeds by grinding or toasting them. To grind, either crush in a pestle and mortar, put in a sealed food bag and bash with a rolling pin, or whizz to a powder in a clean coffee grinder. To toast, heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat and toast the seeds for a couple of minutes, tossing the pan frequently so they don’t burn.
Fennel seed has an affinity to pork, lamb, beef, poultry, fish (especially fatty fish), apples, cabbage, potatoes, and tomatoes. We use it in our tomato sauces, meatloaves, meatballs, and meat sauces.
Use to flavour fish, meat and vegetable dishes, as well as breads and chutneys. You can also chew the whole seeds to freshen your breath, and they’re believed to aid digestion, too.
• Add toasted fennel seed to the cavity of a chicken before it’s roasted.
• Beat ground toasted fennel seed, lime juice, and snipped chives into salted butter. Chill the butter and melt it over a pork chop as soon as it comes off the grill.
• Sprinkle ground toasted fennel seed into a warm potato salad.
• Make a rub for pork or fish from crushed fennel and cumin seeds, salt, and pepper.
• Tie a tablespoon of toasted fennel seed in cheesecloth and simmer it in minestrone or other vegetable and bean soups.
• Simmer toasted fennel seed in your favourite tomato or meat sauce.
• Make a quick lamb sausage (or a mixture for lamb patties or meatballs) by combining ground lamb with whole fennel seed, brown sugar, dry mustard, salt, and pepper.
• Mix toasted fennel seed into hamburger patties, meatballs, or meatloaf.
• Substitute lightly crushed fennel seed for the caraway seed in Irish soda bread or rye bread.
• Add a little ground fennel seed to an apple pie.