Winter Vegie Spotlight: Fennel

What's In Season -

We’re casting our gaze on fennel – a vegetable originally from the Mediterranean and found aplenty in the cool Tasmanian winter.

With fennel, you can eat it raw, braise, roast, or cook it for a melt-in-your-mouth sensation. It has a distinctive liquorice flavour and is super adaptable and delicious.

Fennel can be a bit intimidating if you haven’t used it before, so we’ve put together some tips on how to add fennel to your seasonal dinner rotation.

What is Fennel?

Fennel has an aromatic aniseed flavour; in most recipes, the bulb is the key part you’ll be using.

Fennel is an unusual looking vegetable—with long green stalks, sprouting wispy fronds, and a sturdy white bulb base we find there’s often too many options to play with.

Although not a root vegetable, Fennel is a member of the carrot family and grows easily above the ground (keep your eyes peeled, you might just spot some growing along Hobart’s Eastern Shore!)

Every part of this vegetable is edible. Even when it goes to seed in warmer months, you can eat its beautiful yellow flowers.


Even if the bulb is the hero in your latest dish – make sure you hold onto its stalks and fronds if they’re available.

It’s best to separate the stems from the bulb and store them in separate containers or wrapped in a damp tea towel. Fennel’s similar to celery—if it starts to lose moisture it can quickly wilt, but don’t worry, a quick dunk in some ice-water will re-hydrate and revive fennel.

When choosing your fennel, avoid bulbs with woody brown bits or slimy spots. Fennel has a high-water content – so while it can be great frozen and then popped in a soup, it won’t keep well if you don’t cook it after thawing.

Preparing your Fennel:

One simple way to add fennel to your dishes is to eat it raw. A mandoline is perfect for shaving fennel, but a knife can also achieve results. If using a knife, halve the fennel lengthways while resting the flat side down. Try to slice with the shape of the vegetable – this will leave you with lovely half-moon-shaped pieces to add to your fresh salads.

It’s Salad Time!

Raw fennel is delicious when tossed in a bowl with olive oil, lemon juice, and a touch of salt.

Fennel also pairs nicely with greens, plenty of fresh herbs, and a handful of nuts or seeds – for added crunch. Shaved parmesan would also be delicious on the top, along with a supple garnish of fennel fronds! This will add a vibrant herby freshness to your salad.

Why not try our Crunchy Apple & Fennel slaw for a fresh and zingy dish?

You could also try using fennel in the same way you would use leafy greens. If you love the taste, it’s possible to use the thin pieces to fill the bulk of your salad.

Cooking with Fennel:

Much like an onion, when fennel is cooked it develops a natural sweetness. With a bit of heat – the bulb becomes richer in taste and can be caramelised for added deliciousness.

Why not try fennel roasted too? Just cut the bulb into 2 cm wedges and add olive oil and salt.

Other ideas include a yummy Fennel & Potato Soup or Tuscan Braised Fennel when you’ve got some stale bread to use up? Cooking with fennel is perfect for creating tasty and warming dishes during Winter.

Perfect Partners:

Unsure what flavours to pair with Fennel? Think tomato-based dishes, oranges, salmon, and dill. Also, mix chopped fronds into soups, curries, and sauces – or add as a garnish to dips, eggs, or a stir-fry.

Food Waste Tip: Don’t Forget to Use the Fronds!

Regardless of how you eat it, raw or cooked – fennel is a versatile vegetable that can add delicious depth to your Winter dishes. At this time of year, fennel is in its prime and in steady supply. With so many possibilities, you can’t go wrong… it’s gorgeous, it’s adaptable, and it’s ready to be your next favourite vegetable.