Common fennel: features of growth and development, use in medicine and cooking
Fennel is both a healer and a culinary specialist
Fennel ordinary (Foeniculum vulgare mill.) called pharmacy dill, Volosh dill. In the wild, it is found in the Crimea and the Caucasus.
If ordinary dill is familiar to everyone, then its closest relative, fennel, is less known. However, even the ancient Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Indians and Chinese valued it as a spice and medicine. He came to Central Europe in the Middle Ages.
Currently, fennel is cultivated in production conditions and in vegetable gardens, and not only in its homeland, but also in North and South America, China, East India, in the CIS countries.
The chemical composition of the leaves and fruits of fennel is similar to that of dill, but the former is richer in essential oils. Fennel tastes sweet and smells like anise. Fennel fruit has the same medicinal value as anise.
All parts of fennel, especially seeds, contain an essential oil (in fruits - up to 20% oil), which contains up to 60% anethole, 10-12% fenchol, pinene, camphene, methylchavicol and anise aldehyde. The seeds are rich in fatty oil (up to 18%). Greens and fruits contain vitamins: C, carotene (provitamin A), B1, B2, P, niacin and folic acid, and a relatively deficient vitamin E (antioxidant).
Fennel has an expectorant and disinfectant effect. It is used as a stomach remedy, as a digestive and tonic, and as a carminative for flatulence, chronic colitis, and constipation.
Fennel is used in baking bread, in confectionery, in perfumery and in the pharmaceutical industry.
Features of growth and development
Fennel is a biennial plant. There are varieties of vegetable fennel, in which, in addition to leaves and seeds, large thickenings of the sheaths of the root leaves are used.
The use of fennel in medicine
Particularly popular "Dill water", which is made from fennel seeds and is used as a carminative for bloating in young children. It is taken one teaspoon several times a day. "Drops of the Danish King" they are also made with the use of fennel fruits.
Fennel fruits are used, like anise, as a cough and expectorant: 1-2 teaspoons of crushed fruits are poured like tea with one glass of boiling water and drunk chilled one tablespoon several times a day.
In folk medicine, fennel is used as a tea infusion for abdominal pain, coughing and insomnia.
The use of fennel in cooking
Fennel has a spicy sweetish aroma reminiscent of anise. Its taste is sweetish, slightly spicy. Fennel is especially widely used in the cuisine of the peoples of Indochina, France and Italy.
The fruits are used to make aromatic water, aromatic alcohol, syrups and medicinal teas. By distillation, a fragrant essential oil is obtained from them.
As a spice, fennel is used in the production of liqueurs, confectionery, mainly biscuits, pies and puddings. It is rightfully popular in the preparation of fish dishes, especially carp, mayonnaise, soups, sauces, and, on a smaller scale, compotes. It gives a pleasant taste to sauerkraut, pickles and cold cuts.
Fresh fennel is also used. Young shoots and leaves, as well as unripe umbrellas add a subtle flavor to salad pickles; they are used in canning cucumbers and other vegetables and sauerkraut.
Fennel sauces go with pork, offal dishes, cold fish.
candidate of agricultural sciences
Fennel on the table
In culinary terms, fennel is no less useful than as a medicinal plant. Its aromatic and delicate greens, containing carotene and vitamin C, will make any spring salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and radishes very unusual. Crushed seeds are added to fish dishes, especially carp, soups, sauces. Unripe umbrellas are added to marinades, when canning vegetables and pickling cabbage. Fennel is found in many spirits, primarily liqueurs. In some countries, it is even added to cookies.
And vegetable fennel can be eaten raw, boiled or pickled. But this is already a chapter from a cookbook.
Here is a very simple recipe that even a child can implement, although it is children who do not like fennel because of the aniseed smell. Wash the vegetable fennel head and slice it very thinly across. Season with salt, press a little with a fork to make juice, and season with a mixture of lemon juice and olive oil.
As a side dish, fennel can be stewed and baked either alone or with other vegetables.
It lies in the composition. The plant contains proteins, flavonoids, sugars, a certain amount of fats and a lot of essential oils, the active ingredient of which is anethole.
On the territory of the former USSR, wild dill grew in the Caucasus and in part of the Crimea. In Asia, it was harvested and harvested as a spice for meat, vegetable dishes, soups, and the stems-umbrellas were put in salting, to replace dill.
Today fennel is growing in popularity and its uses are expanding. For example, in many countries it began to be used as a confectionery fragrance and in the alcoholic beverage industry, as well as in the production of perfumery.
Fennel - the beneficial properties and benefits of fennel
The Soviet official medicine widely used the fruits of fennel. From the essential oil, pharmaceutical dill water was prepared, which was prescribed when the tummy of babies was swollen, when children suffered from coughs or constipation.
Today, when more effective colic remedies have been found, only tea bags with the addition of fennel seeds can be found in the pharmacy. But at home, mothers, and especially grandmothers, continue to water the babies with homemade dill water.
As for the expectorant properties, fennel has them to a greater extent than garden dill. Therefore, its seeds are included in the expectorant fees.
Spicy flavored crops
The flavoring group includes plants from different families that are rich in aromatic oils and can seriously affect the taste of food. In everyday life, we simply call them spice plants.
The history of spices, their discovery by man and the mastery of the skills of their use in the process of cooking is inextricably linked with the history of mankind itself. Historians believe that man improved the taste of the raw meat of the animals he caught with the help of various forest fruits and plant roots as early as 50,000 BC. With the development of primitive cooking, man wanted to diversify the taste of the dishes he prepared, which stimulated his interest in studying various plants. Learning the properties of plant components and establishing their effect on the human body, the ancient man found new spicy additions. This is how the history of spices began, which will further absorb all the shades of development and upheavals in the economic, political and cultural history of mankind. Spices will become objects of worship, a measure of trade, causes of wars, and the real underpinnings of many historical intrigues and adventures.
Spicy crops themselves do not have nutritional value, but are characterized by specific taste and aroma values. Spicy flavoring plants have amazing properties to transform the taste of a dish, improve its appearance, neutralize the specific smell of the original product, protect the dish from spoilage and increase its shelf life. Many herbs are even capable of killing harmful bacteria. Certain varieties of mint, thyme, caraway and rosemary are champions in this area.
Today it is impossible to imagine our life without spices. Rather, it is impossible to imagine a delicious life without these amazing additives! Spices are added to almost all dishes and to many different drinks in national cuisines of all nations of the world. And in some national cuisines, first of all, the peoples of Asia and the East, the art of using spices has been brought to such perfection that it is spice and flavor additives that play the main role in the mystery of creating any culinary masterpiece.
A significant part of the spice-flavoring crops are also medicinal plants. Hyssop and oregano, sage and lavender, mint and fennel can be found not only in the spice departments of food supermarkets, but also in any pharmacy.
Although most of the spicy plants come from warm climates, many of them have found a place for themselves in our gardens, and some even successfully live year-round in pots on window sills, in winter gardens or on loggias. Cute pots or boxes of lavender, rosemary or thyme can be a wonderful decorative element in your kitchen. And some spicy plants are found here in the wild and you can simply collect them.
Photo: Maxim Minin, Rita Brilliantova
Spicy herbs for your garden
For those who adhere to the "informal" style in landscape design, the herb garden is a real find. A garden in which spicy herbs reign is not an invention of today, but an old tradition that is again becoming fashionable. If the plot has a small free space that you would like to decorate with ornamental plants and use with maximum efficiency, then the "aromatic" garden is what you need. From spicy herbs, you can build a flower bed, a curb and, in the end, an ordinary garden. What kind of herbs are best grown in the "aromatic" garden, read the article.
Fennel. Procurement and storage
The leaves of this plant are best used fresh, since when dried they practically lose their properties. Fennel is harvested using the dry salting method, like dill or parsley. To harvest the seeds, its upper parts are cut off, when the fruits in the umbrellas turn brown, then they are tied in bundles and dried, the temperature during drying should not exceed 35 ° C. The dried bunches are threshed, dried and stored in a sealed package in a glass container in a dark place.
Fennel roots are dug up in late autumn, dried and stored like other root vegetables.
If in America and Australia fennel is not very favored and is considered a weed, due to the fact that it is sown independently and quickly captures territory, in European countries, in order to fill the house with its honey-aniseed aroma, it is even bred as a houseplant.
The largest suppliers of this plant to the world market today are Italy, France, Iran, India and Russia.
Some varieties of this plant, for example, bronze fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Bronze) are very decorative. Such fennel can effectively set off many flower arrangements with its "haze", become an original decoration of a site in a mono-plant, or look great in a border.
... But it smells like anise
Of all the many substances found in fennel, the essential oil is of the greatest interest to pharmacists. Its content in fruits, depending on the variety and growing conditions, ranges from 2 to 6%. Bitter fennel contains on average about 4% essential oil, sweet fennel is slightly lower. The essential oil is obtained by hydrodistillation. It is a colorless to light yellow liquid with a very sweet aroma with a slight peppery tint.
50-70% of the oil consists of trans-anethole, which is characterized by a specific sweetish odor, which we call aniseed. About 20% of bitter fennel oil is bitter in taste (+) - fenchone. And in the essential oil of sweet fennel, anethole (which, according to the rules of the European Pharmacopoeia, should be at least 80%), anise aldehyde and terpene hydrocarbons (camphene, dipentene, α-pinene) prevail, fenchone in it, as a rule, is less than 1%. But the estragol in sweet fennel contains 2 times more than in bitter fennel oil.
In general, the composition of the oil is very diverse and includes almost all groups of volatile terpenes: monoterpenes (α-pinene - 3-4%, β-pinene-0.6% 3.5-55% limonene, 0.3-4.8 - p-cymene, 0.7-12% cis-ocymene, 1-3% - myrcene, 1% - α-pellandrene, 2.6% -β-pellandrene, 1-10.5%, γ-terpinene, etc. ), monoterpene alcohols (fenchol - 3.2%, in small amounts terpinen-4-ol, linalool, terpineol), phenylethers (52-86% - trans-anethole, 2-7% methyl halvicol, 0.3-0.5 cis-anethole), aldehydes (anisic aldehyde), ketones (up to 20% fenchone, anisketone), oxides (1,8-cineole, 2.8% - estragol). The ratio of ingredients varies greatly depending on the type of fennel. Of greatest interest from a medical point of view are the forms and varieties containing the maximum amount of anethole.
In addition to essential, the seeds contain up to 9-26.6% of fatty oil, consisting of petroselinic (60%), oleic (22%), linoleic (14%) and palmitic (4%) acids, furocoumarins (bergapten and psoralen), sterols and phenol carboxylic acids. The fatty oil obtained as a by-product after the distillation of the essential oil is of interest for obtaining a suppository base (primarily, petroselinic acid triglycerides).
The herb contains the flavonoids quercetin, fenicularin, and a small amount of essential oil.