Today's Spice is Fennel -- quite an interesting spice, as all parts are edible -- the bulb, fronds, stalk, and seeds.
I love fennel. It's great for chewing after a meal to aid with digestion. I take a little spoonful of it and munch away -- no honey is needed like when I take ginger for belly woes or turmeric for boosting my immune system. I also have fennel oil in my toothpaste -- it tastes yummy and fennel is traditionally used to enhance the breath. Besides digestion and breath, fennel is also used for:
- Fennel helps the eyes and helps reduce the effects of computer eye strain. Just chew the seeds -- don't put them in your eyes!
- Gargling with fennel can help if you have strained your voice or have a sore throat
- Fennel is anti-inflammatory, and is traditionally used to help reduce swelling
- Antioxidants! Fennel seeds contain quercetin and other antioxidants, which help remove cancerous free radicals from the body
- Even though the seeds are small, they're packed with vitamins -- a mini boost to your meal
I also like to add fennel to any veggie stir fry I'm making -- I toast the seeds first in oil before I add onions and other veggies. It gives off a wonderful licorice aroma.
Have you used fennel as a spice before? What meals have you created with it?