Avid cooks will enjoy growing fennel. The bulb, the feathery foliage, and even the seeds are excellent for European-inspired cooking.
The bulb and stems have an anise (licoricelike) flavor that adds interest to raw salads or vegetable appetizers served with a dip. The leaves are also excellent in salads or served snipped atop fish or chicken. And the seed adds a distinct flavor to Southern Italian-inspired red sauces.
Florence fennel, also called bulb fennel, differs from the perennial herb also called fennel in that Florence fennel forms a swollen base at ground level. For best bulb flavor, mound mulch around the base of the plant when bulbs reach 2 inches in diameter.
More varieties for Fennel
'Zefo Fino' fennel
Foeniculum vulgare azoricum 'Zefo Fino' is an early maturing, bolt-resistant variety good for warm-summer regions.