A crisp vegetable, that is also classified as a herb, that grows as a greenish-white bulb containing tubular stalks topped with feathery leaves. Native to Mediterranean regions and Western Asia, fennel is grown throughout the temperate zones of the world. The bulb can be cleaned, sliced, and used in salads or sautéed and combined with other ingredients, providing a slight licorice flavor. The stalks can be cut and used raw or cooked for soups and sauces. The outer stalks should be discarded if they are bruised or discolored. The feathery leaves are the part of this vegetable that can be used as an herb or as a garnish. The actual fennel herb is slightly different as it does not have a bulb and is used primarly to produce fennel seeds that are used as a seasoning in a variety of foods. When selecting, choose bulbs that have a good white and green coloring without brown or rust spots. For storage, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for up to a week.
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