November 27, 2020
As a nutritionist I always try to eat very plant forward. As adults it should be no mystery to us that fruits and vegetables are good for us and play a key role in our health. I also think that less adventurous eaters get bored forcing themselves to eat broccoli a couple of times a week because it’s good for them SO I’m making it a mission to introduce new and exciting options.
Right now I’m completely fixated on fennel. It’s an oddly beautiful plant and closely related to dill, coriander, and carrots including Daucus Carota or Queen Anne’s Lace which is another of my favorite beauties. Fennel is not only delicious, but extremely versatile (which we will get to in a minute) and incredibly healthy **. It provides an abundance of Vitamin C to help support immune function and an array of antioxidants that vastly reduce inflammation including a rare phytonutrient called Anethole which has been shown to prevent cancer and helps to protect the liver. It is also profoundly beneficial to our digestion - fennel tea is great to have on hand if you struggle with slow digestion or constipation.
So we know it’s good for you . . . how do we use it?? Fennel has a similar texture to celery or onion. Its great sliced on pizza (my favorite pizza maker adds the fronds or leafy green top leaves to their pizza which become super airy and crispy in the oven - every part of a fennel plant is edible! Bon Appetit magazine once wrote an article called “Fennel fronds are delicious! Stop throwing them out!!) and adds a fresh crunch to a green salad. It pairs well with fruit like orange or grapefruit for a fresh side salad (top with a little EVOO, sea salt and fresh chopped mint). You can also find a hundred recipes and variations for baked fennel. It has a mild anise/liquorish taste but I stress mild - there is nothing strong or overpowering about this guy.
If you’re a fancy cook treat yourself to a small jar of fennel pollen which is a great rub for chicken, pork or fish and a flavorful addition to soups or baked into cookies. I bought a jar for myself and one for a girlfriend and we spent weeks messaging each other about everything we put in ON or IN … and I mean everything (still considering ice cream . . . ).
But my obsession with fennel does not begin and end with food. We mentioned that it is highly anti-inflammatory which is why it is an amazing nutrient for your skin as well. Our “Absinthe” facial serum adds a touch of fennel essential oil to ultra hydrating Argan Oil to inhibit the signs of aging . . . it’s a lovely, super hydrating facial oil and the smell is sublime - my go-to morning serum. As an esthetician I believe that we need to change up the nutrients on our skin as well from time to time. This serum is a great “one bottle” treatment to rotate in that is super beneficial during this dry winter weather which is always challenging.
Lastly, if you are someone who diffuses essential oils in your home I would highly recommend purchasing a bottle of fennel essential oil (it’s currently in my daily mix with fir and a hint of patchouli). It will make your home smell fresh and clean and offers benefit for reducing stress and anxiety we well as helping to balance hormones and mood swings - wins all the way around.
Here’s to hoping you find a way to experience and enjoy this pretty plant and its bevy of benefits - future obsessions to come . . .
** To drill down on all of the benefits of food visit whfoods.com (world’s healthiest foods). You can type in any food in the search field and it will break down all of it’s nutritional benefits and then some. Super nerdy.