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Local fennel is considered to be a winter crop vegetable and is easily recognizable for its large onion-like bulb. This hardy vegetable has long green stalks that have feathery green leaves on the top. Local fennel offers a flavor similar to licorice and has a crisp texture.
Local fennel is available in the fall and winter months.
Fennel is entirely edible. Cook the stalks as you would the bulb, or top dished with chopped fronds for garnish. Thoroughly rinse fennel as dirt can become lodged inside while it's growing. Slice and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast with other root vegetables. Shave or thinly slice and add raw to green salads, with blood orange segments and olives. Saute with onions as a base for risotto. Slice and layer with onions and mustard seeds in a pastry crust for a savory tart. Dice and cook slowly in olive oil until caramelized, then toss with fresh pasta. May also be used in sweet preparations: add to custards and freeze into ice cream. Fennel will keep, dry, in the refrigerator for up to a week.