Fennel
- Origin
Fennel originated in South Europe, the area of Mediterranean and Asia Minor. Ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Indians and Chinese used it as a spice and medicine. Ancient Greeks and Romans believed that fennel gives strength, freshens the breath, kills fleas and repels evil spirits. Fennel was brought to the rest of Europe in Middle Ages. Fennel fruits contain 12-18% of oil, which is sometimes used as substitute to cocoa butter. As a spice fennel is used in national cuisines of Romania, Hungary, France, Italy, China and India.

- Varieties
Fruits, leaves and seeds of fennel are used with equal success

- Flavour
By looks fennel is very similar to dill, while it tastes and smells a lot like anise except the fact that the taste is sweeter and more pleasant. The fruits which have a pleasant scent and slightly sweet taste are used to increase appetite and to improve digestion.

- Usage
Fennel fruits are also used for the manufacturing of some liquors, added to bakery (biscuits mostly), pies and puddings. It is widely used for dishes made of fish (especially, carp) as well as sauces and soups. It gives a very pleasant scent to conserved vegetables and cold starters. Fresh fennel leaves greatly improve the taste of some marinades. Fennel fruits are also known for improving appetite and digestion When using fennel leaves, it is best to use them fresh, because they are nearly useless when dry.

- Amount
2-4 grams of those is enough for 1 kg of meat and fish.

- Combinations and substitutes
When combined with other spices, the entire mix is usually put into a small cheesecloth bag, dropped into the boiling water and removed later.

- Storage
Fennel seeds should be stored should be stored in a tightly closed glass container in dark and cool place.

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