Fennel is a plant that consists of bulb which is white or pale green in colour with stalks closely arranged. The stalks are topped with feathery green leaves alongwith flowers which contain fennel seeds. It belongs to the Umbellifereae family and is closely related to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander.The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds are considered edible . It was first cultivated in the Mediterranean, and gradually spread throughout the world. Fennel is mostly available from autumn till early spring.
Choose fennel with bulbs that are white or pale green in color with a firm texture without any splits or bruises.The stalks should be straight and closely bundled around the bulb. If it has flowering buds it indicates that the vegetable is over-matured. Fresh fennel should have a fragrant smell of licorice or anise. Store fennel in the refrigerator for around 4 days. It is best to consume right after purchase, as it loses flavor over time.
Fennel may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to carrot,celery and mugwort. It might slow blood clotting, thus increasing the risk of bleeding or bruising in people with bleeding disorders.(2)
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