Native to the Mediterranean, fennel eventually spread north into Europe and also to the Far East. There are two types of fennel - bitter fennel and sweet fennel. In this country bitter fennel is more common and is grown in Argentina, central Europe, Germany, Hungary, Egypt, India and Russia.
Our cracked fennel is perfect for those that want a bit more intense flavor. Ground fennel is better for a rounder, smoother flavor.
A member of the Apiaceae family (parsley family), bitter fennel's scientific name is Foeniculum vulgare Mill. Fennel Seeds are ridged and oval in shape and the color is pale or bright green to brownish yellow in color. Fennel Seeds are similar in appearance to their family member caraway seed (although not as curved as caraway seed). Our Indian fennel is straighter and smaller than European fennel.
Fennel seeds (these are also known as the fruit) are considered a spice, while the edible leaves, roots and stalks of the plant are considered an herb. The bulb-like vegetable known as fennel, Florence fennel or Italian fennel, while comparable in flavor and being related to herb fennel, is not the same plant.
In the European and Mediterranean regions this popular spice is often referred to as "the fish herb". The French use fennel seed in fish soups, vinagrettes and in some versions of their popular Herbs de Provence blend. The Italians add them to meatballs, pasta sauces, pepperoni, pizza, salami, sambuca and sausages. The Spanish use them in baked goods while the Arabs add them to breads and salads.
In Asia fennel seeds are used to season cabbages, fish sauces, roasted lamb, mutton and pork curries as well as in sweet and sour dishes. In India fennel seeds are toasted in oil to release their full flavor and are then either ground or used whole in breads, curries, lentils, spice blends, soups and vegetables. In Kashmir ground fennel is found in egg and fish egg curries and in Sri Lanka ground fennel is a key ingredient in many hot curries and stews.
Fennel seeds have a sweet anise flavor and are less pungent than dill but more astringent than anise. When toasted the seed becomes less sweet and a bit spicy.
Fennel will quickly lose its flavor once ground so we grind both our ground fennel and our cracked fennel weekly in small batches for optimum flavor. We recommend adding fennel at the end of the cooking process for the best flavor.
Fennel goes well with beets, lentils, potatoes, in sauerkraut, stews, meat and chicken dishes, sauces, herb butters, dips and dressings, salads, omelets, apple pie, cakes, pastries, puddings, and spiced fruit.
Fennel works well in combination with cinnamon, cumin, fenugreek and Sichuan Peppercorns.
Whole fennel seeds are used in Bengali Five Spice while ground fennel is also the key ingredient in Chinese Five Spice and cracked fennel is used in our Adobo Lime Rub, Breakfast Sausage blend and Pizza Seasoning.
In addition to our Cracked Fennel we also carry a whole Fennel Seed and a Ground Fennel.
Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*