What Does Fennel Taste Like? How To Use It?

Fennel is a unique substance that tastes a bit like black licorice. It is actually not a spice or vegetable. Rather, it is a perennial herb.

Originally, fell started growing in the Mediterranean. However, now people grow it in their herb gardens all the time. There is a lot to explore about fennel, and in the following article, we will unpack it for you.

What Does Fennel Taste Like?

It can be difficult to describe the taste of fennel. As stated above, it is a bit like the taste of black licorice.

Those who are fans of absinthe will recognize the signature flavor as it is one of the main ingredients. Fennel is like anise in taste, but it is not the same plant.

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What is Fennel: Spice, Herb, or Vegetable?

Florence fennel is different because it is classified as a vegetable. Also, there are dried fennel fruits that are used as spices. However, the plant fennel is still typically classed as a herb.

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How to Use it?

Florence fennel is used in absinthe which is a popular alcoholic drink. Additionally, fennel fruit is used to make akvavit, which is a distilled spirit.

Fennel is used in Chinese medicine when it is added to Materia Medica. The entire plant, including the bulb, foliage, and fruits, are used in cuisine around the world.

It can be used as a vegetable, garnish, spice, or to add flavor to dishes. They even add it to omelets in some places.

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What is the Difference Between Fennel and Anise?

Anise has some similarities to fennel. It is also grown in the Mediterranean. However, it is also native to Southwest Asia. It is a flowering plant that is also called aniseed or Unix.

Anise does have a similar taste to fennel as well as licorice. However, anise has a somewhat more palatable taste. It is used in candy which is something that fennel is not used for.

Like fennel, anise is used in alcohol. Anise can be made into an essential oil as well. Both fennel and anise are added to sausages for flavor.

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What Parts of Fresh Fennel Can You Eat?

Fennel can be eaten with all parts usefully applied to different purposes. The only caution with fennel is that poison hemlock looks very similar to it.

Of course, any part of hemlock cannot be consumed. Dill, coriander, and caraway also look similar to fennel but they are consumable.

You can tell the plants apart because these plants are all shorter than fennel. Some forms of giant fennel are not used in cooking.

Fennel is safe to eat and is even used in toothpaste. Fennel fruits can be candied or just plain and used as a breath freshener.

People might find these at East Indian restaurants as it is part of the cultural tradition to consume them after a meal.

What Does Fennel Taste Like Cooked?

The bulb of the fennel is a vegetable that can be sauteed. It has a crisp taste. When it is not cooked, it can be consumed like celery.

The bulbs do not have the spice-laden taste that the fruits do. One of the major reasons to cook the bulb and eat it is nutrition.

One bulb has 7.28 grams of dietary fiber. It is a healthy ingredient to add to stir-fries and other meals.

The Flavor of Fennel?

Most people would not be able to pick out the fennel specifically when it is added to the soup.

It is a softer taste that gives off a herby flair. The flavor of the fruit of the fennel, on the other hand, is pungent when it is dried.

This taste is a bit of mint and licorice as well as camphor. It tastes this way because of the oils that are in the plant.

Trans-anethole and estragole have the aroma of licorice and fenchone have the aroma of mint and camphor.

There is even an aroma of mushroom mixed in. It makes sense that this plant is generally more savory in nature than anise given the aroma profile.

Fennel is an interesting plant that has a lot of potential for varied uses given its versatility in flavor.