Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What to do with Fennel stalks

Fennel is a recent introduction to my food palate, and I love it enough that I have started some seeds for this year's garden. It is outrageously expensive in the supermarkets here, so it often stays on the shelves long past it's prime. There IS one vendor at the farmer's market with great, fresh and affordable fennel, but he always sells out fast.

Fennel bulbs are almost always sold by weight, and there's not much value in the stalks and ferns which can make up half the weight/cost. The stalks and ferns are tasty when fresh, and can be used sliced thin in salads and as a garnish but they lose all taste/flavor if dried, much like dried parsley. So... the stalks often get thrown on the compost pile, keeping just the fat bulb for cooking.

However, I came across this recipe for making orange pickled fennel stalks from a charcuterie blog I  read. It's a simple recipe and takes just a few minutes of your time (plus some wait while the sliced stalks are in salt to lose some of their liquid). I put mine on some lamb chops... delish!

My picture should have been taken immediately, as the orange looses color (but not taste) after a couple of days, but I was busy with seedlings and forgot!

Orange Pickled Fennel Stalks
Adapted from recipe by Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich

    * Stalks from two fennel bulbs, sliced
    * 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
    * zest of 1/2 orange, peeled from the orange in thin strips
    * 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
    * 1/2 cup orange juice
    * 1 Tbsp. sugar
    * 4 black peppercorns, cracked

1: Combine sliced fennel with salt and let stand for one to two hours.

2: Drain fennel slices and combine them with the orange zest.

3: Pack fennel stalks and zest into a jar. Heat vinegar, orange juice, sugar and peppercorns to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the hot liquid over the fennel and screw on lid.

4: Let cool to room temperature and then place in the refrigerator. It will be ready in a few days.

I think this would be good on salmon, too. YUM!


  1. This is a great sort of information which really helped me a lot... I am thankful to have such information when i was looking for organic gardening

  2. Thanks for sharing your recipe! I recently acquired 2 fennel plants from a produce/plant exchange. I've never had fennel, but I'm attempting to grow it for seed. I'll be looking forward to trying this recipe. I've never had fennel!

  3. Fennel is a new food to me in the last year, and it's so tasty cooked in many different ways or sliced thin in salads.

    I love it so much that I have a tray of fennel seeds started, too!

    Good luck with yours!


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