Condimantra Fennel Spices
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April 23, 2017
Condimantra Fennel Spices
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Fennel

Condimantra Fennel Spices

The major constituent of fennel oil is anethole. Other constituents include alpha pinene, beta myrcene, beta pinene, bitter fenchone, camphene, estragole (methyl-chavicol), fenchone, limonene, p-cymen, and safrole

  1. The history of fennel goes back to ancient times as it was easily accessible throughout the Mediterranean Basin
  2. Roman warriors are said to have consumed fennel to make them strong
  3. It was also thought to have the power to help people remain thin. Its Greek name marathon, which means “grow thin”, reflects the belief in its ability to suppress appetite
  4. Pliny, a Roman writer and philosopher, believed that fennel had properties to improve eyesight
  5. Fennel was a staple in the household of King Edward I of England. His wardrobe account books from 1281 listed a purchase of 8 1/2 pounds of fennel seed – a month’s supply
  6. On Church mandated ‘Fasting days’, the faithful used fennel to get through the day, a tradition brought to the United States by the Puritans. They would bring handkerchiefs with fennel seed to nibble on during long services to stave off hunger
  7. In the late 1700s, fennel became one of the ingredients (along with anise and wormwood) in a patent medicinal elixir called absinthe
  8. This elixir was soon marketed as a spirit, and became a popular drink among the Bohemian set in post WWI Europe and the United States

Scientific Name: Foeniculum vulgare

Other Names: Saunf (India), fenikel, fenkel, florence fennel, finocchio, marathon etc

Facts

  1. Fennel, also known as F. officinale, is a member of the Umbelliferae (Apiaceae) or carrot family
  2. Fennel has become naturalized along roadsides, in pastures, and in other open sites in many regions, including northern Europe, the United States, southern Canada, and much of Asia and Australia
  3. It is broadly grown in Northern India as a cold climate crop
  4. The word “fennel” developed from the Middle English fenel or fenyl. There are several different species and varieties of fennel that may be annual, biennial, or perennial

Health benefits:

  1. Fennel is a rich source of beta-carotene and vitamin C, as well as calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc and iron
  2. Fennel seeds contain anti-oxidants like quercetin and kaempferol. These anti-oxidants remove toxic radicals in the body and prevent cancers, neurological diseases and aging
  3. Essential oil of fennel seed has been reported to stimulate pancreatic alpha-cells and insulin secretion
  4. Fennel seeds are a metabolic enhancer. Fennel boosts fat metabolism and prevents excess fat accumulation
  5. Fennel seeds are a rich source of dietary fibre and keeps cholesterol in control
  6. Fennel seeds contain alpha-pinene and creosol, which helps in loosening congestion, and make coughs productive. The seeds also relieving gastro-intestinal issues and provides relief from asthma and bronchitis

Common uses in Indian cuisine:

  1. Fennel which is also called Saunf is mainly used as a one of the ingredient in pickle masala (mixer of various spices)
  2. It is an essential ingredient of the Assamese/Bengali/Oriya spice mixture panch phoron and in Chinese five-spice powders
  3. It can be used at the starting of cooking, that is to flavour the oil or it can be grounded and used as a curry paste along with other ingredients. It is sometimes roasted with fenugreek and used in stuffed vegetables
  4. In many parts of India, roasted fennel seeds are consumed as mukhwas, an after-meal digestive and breath freshener
  5. Fennel seed is a common ingredient in loose tea blends, like chai and lactation tea, and can also be steeped and enjoyed on its own


Sources

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