I love licorice and it all started in the womb. Yep, you heard me right, in the womb! When my mother was pregnant with me, she CRAVED black licorice like there was no tomorrow. She ate it non-stop. I use to always tease that if you were to cut my skin, I would bleed black. Stumbling upon this amazing vegetable has given me warm fuzzes in knowing I get some of that licorice flavor that I so adore in a fresh, raw version! Fennel is composed of a white or pale green bulb from which closely superimposed stalks are arranged. The stalks are topped with feathery green leaves near which flowers grow and produce fennel seeds. The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds are all edible. This turned out to be one of my all time favorites! Wow! The citrus helps to cut the green and there is a hint of fennel flavor that lingers in the back of your throat. I will be making this one again!
- 1 stalk of fennel, bulb and leaves (7 3/4 oz)
- 2 oranges, peeled (13 1/2 oz)
- 1 medium banana (4oz)
- 3 cups spinach
- 2 cups water
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp physllium powder
- Blend water, spinach and fennel in the blender first. This will help with the texture.
- Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
- **I add a handful of ice to my smoothies too.**
Tip to always remember!
- Blending fruits and vegetables together breaks down the cells of plants and improves digestibility. BUT even with that, be sure to chew your smoothies. The chewing process starts the release of the saliva in your mouth. The mixture of saliva and your food is were digestion begins. This is a very healthy habit to get into. It may feel strange at first but soon it will become an automatic response.
- Calories: 394
- Fat: .7
- Fiber: 17.4
- Carbs: 94
- Protein: 7.9
- The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds of fennel are all edible. Fennel belongs to the Umbelliferae family and is therefore closely related to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander. Fennel contains many minerals and vitamins: vitamin C, fiber, minerals – manganese, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and vitamin B3.
- The vitamin C from the bulb of the plant is antibacterial and very useful to the immune system.
- The fennel bulb is an important source of fiber which may help to reduce elevated cholesterol level. And since fiber also removes potentially carcinogenic toxins from the colon, fennel bulb may also be useful in preventing colon cancer.
- The herb is rich in potassium – an essential mineral which helps decrease the high blood pressure that can cause a heart attack.
- Fennel as an excellent source of vitamin C, alleviates the symptoms of upper respiratory infections.
- Fennel’s aromatic taste is unique, strikingly reminiscent of licorice and anise, so much so that fennel is often mistakenly referred to as anise in the marketplace.
- Fennel has a similar crunchy texture as compared to celery .
- Fennel tea can be used as a carminative [prevents formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract or facilitates the expulsion of said gas] with antispasmodic effect against cramps of the digestive tract in combination with flatulence. To make the tea put a teaspoon of the seeds in a tea pot, pour on boiling water and leave to ’stoop’ for five minutes.
- Fennel can also be used for bad breath, constipation, colds, flu and as a diuretic.
- Constipation: Fennel seeds, particularly in powdered form, act as laxative. The roughage helps clearance of bowels whereas the stimulating effect helps maintain the proper peristaltic motion of the intestines, thereby helping proper excretion.
How to Select and Store
Good quality fennel will have bulbs that are clean, firm and solid, without signs of splitting, bruising or spotting. The bulbs should be whitish or pale green in color. The stalks should be relatively straight and closely superimposed around the bulb and should not splay out to the sides too much. Both the stalks and the leaves should be green in color. There should be no signs of flowering buds as this indicates that the vegetable is past maturity. Fresh fennel should have a fragrant aroma, smelling subtly of licorice or anise. Fennel is usually available from autumn through early spring.
Store fresh fennel in the refrigerator crisper, where it should keep fresh for about four days. Yet, it is best to consume fennel soon after purchase since as it ages, it tends to gradually lose its flavor.