Fennel is a delicious, fragrant vegetable that can be overlooked and underused. Every part of fennel is edible, from the bulb to the seeds, and it is packed with many health-rejuvenating benefits. Fennel has been used to treat digestive disorders, improve liver function, mask unpleasant odours and is thought to prevent many forms of cancer. Whether you cook fennel in a stir-fry or stew, or serve it fresh in a salad, its sweet, warm, liquorice flavour keeps you coming back for more.
Select the fennel you wish to use. Look for bulbs that are firm, white and free of cracking or browning. The stalks should be straight and have a crisp, perky appearance. Flowering buds on the stalks indicate the fennel is no longer good to use. For best results, select the fennel a day or two before you intend to use it. Fennel can be kept up to a week in a refrigerator crisper, but it will lose some of its flavour.
Cut off the stalks where they meet the bulb, and put them aside. The stalks can be used later in soups or stews, while the leafy fronds can be used as a seasoning or a garnish for savoury tarts and quiches.
Cut the fennel bulb in half, and remove the base. Wash both halves thoroughly in water.
Stand both bulb halves on their side. Remove the core.
Shred the bulb halves in a food processor using a shredding blade. You also can shred the fennel by hand by cutting the bulb halves vertically and then into small strips.