Fennel Seed

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Fennel Seeds are a classic spice in the Mediterranean.

Dried fennel seeds are yellow with a hint of green (the greener the seeds the higher the quality). Fennel seeds are 5 -7 mm (½ inches) long and many of the seeds are split into two. Along the side of the fennel seeds there are a few pale, really thin ribs that run along their length.

Fennel seeds have a taste suggestive of anise - warm and spicy with an almost medicinal freshness, sometimes with a hint of bitterness. Dry roasting fennel enhances their anise-like sweetness. Fennel seeds can be interchanged with aniseed, or less successfully with dill seeds.

Fennel seeds go well with fish or vegetables, and can be added to pickles, sauerkraut and bread. Fennel seeds have a great affinity for pork, especially fatty pork, so crush and rub with salt onto belly pork.

Further reading

  • Hemphill, I., Hemphill, K. (2014) The Spice and Herb Bible, Robert Rose. ISBN: 9780778804932.
  • Norman, J. (2015) Herbs & Spices: The Cook's Reference, DK Publishing. ISBN: 9781465435989.