Friday, May 14, 2010

The Fennel Girls~

Florence and Bronze~

In the 1600's Spanish explorers brought herb seed to plant in the new world.
This is how Sweet Fennel became abundant along 'El Camino Real' or the Kings Highway-which connects the missions in California.

Today, tall wispy spires of green Sweet Fennel can still be seen along interstate 101-which traces the legendary route. ( Sweet Fennel is also know as Florence or Finocchio Fennel)

Bronze Fennel is grown for it leaves and seeds and has no edible root.
It is awesome combined with French Tarragon as a wrap for fish fillets.

Florence is grown for its vegetable root and has a sweet licorice flavor...delicious roasted with fresh grown garlic bulbs.

If you grow Bronze and want to collect seed, do not cut the center stalk after mid summer, this is where the bloom and seed will be. As the seed start to turn from green to brown...cut the whole head and allow it to finish ripening in a brown paper bag. When the seeds are dry they will easily fall off into the bag and you can easily clean ( just remove any leaves, stalk, etc) and put into an air-tight jar. Keep in a cool place out of direct sunlight.

Both Fennel's make beautiful additions to the garden and the Swallowtail butterfly loves them both.

Happy Gardening~

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