We may only have discovered the wonders of fennel seeds now, but the ancient people of Greece have been cooking fennel seeds for thousands of years. In the UK and other European countries, people have long included them in their meals to aid in food digestion. And in India, it is given after every meal to chew on, like a dessert. The Puritans, who called them “meeting seeds”, liked to chew on fennel seeds during long meetings and sermons in church to stave off their hunger.
Indeed, there are many benefits in eating fennels. Thus, today, it is little wonder that it’s a staple of many Italian dishes and people from all over the world like to cook dishes with fennels in them. Its characteristic licorice-like flavor goes well with fish dishes, although there are numerous other foods you can use fennels with to make them more flavorful.
COOKING PREPARATION FOR FENNEL SEEDS
Fennel seeds don’t need any preparation at all. You can cook your favorite dishes as usual and just add the seeds.
If, however, you want to bring out the spicier flavor of the seeds and get less of its sweet flavor, you can do one of the following: heat it and then grind it or grind it first then heat it. You can do either way as both seem to bring out the same stronger flavor of the seeds and its rich aroma.
You can grind fennel seeds by using a mortar and pestle or by putting them in a sealed plastic bag first and then pounding away with anything that can be used like a pestle.
To heat the seeds, heat up a pan over medium heat, put the seeds in and toss them around for two to three minutes. You can also toast the seeds if you like and leave them in the pan until they are brown in color.
COOKING FENNEL SEEDS
There are endless possibilities of dishes and foods you can try with fennel seeds. In Scandinavia and Europe, fennel seeds are even used for baking sweet breads and pastries. In Italy, they use fennel seeds in their sausages. Certainly, your imagination is only your limit when you’re cooking fennel seeds.
You can sprinkle the flowers of fennel in your salad or use them in your herbal vinegar. The leaves of the fennel can be used in soups, salads, stews, marinade and dips. You can use it to flavor your meat and poultry. Fennel seeds are also the perfect herb to flavor and spice fish and all kinds of seafood. You can use it when you’re grilling fish by putting them on top of the fish. Here are other ideas you can do with fennel seeds in your kitchen:
- Use it next time you make homemade fish stock
- Mix with soft cheese to make a delicious bread spread
- Include it in your baking ingredients for bread and biscuits
- Add it to your curry sauce
- Flavor all your meat with ground fennels
- Make spaghetti sauce with fennel seeds
- Include them in your pork stews and casserole dishes and have fun cooking fennel seeds.