Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Fennel Tea

I grow fennel in my herb garden for several reasons.  First of all, it is a beautiful plant that has lovely yellow flowers and ferny foliage.  

Second, it is a host plant for Black Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillars.  If you look closely at the picture above, you'll see several if them.  Like this one.

Here's the type of butterfly this one will turn into.

The last reason l grow fennel is because it has wonderful flavor, both the leaves and the seeds.  Let me clarify something, though.  There are two types of fennel.  This is the kind that is grown for the leaves and seeds, not the bulb.  The kind that makes the bulb is called Florence Fennel.  That type is difficult to grow here in Oklahoma.  Our hot summers are too much for it.

I was a little late harvesting seed from my plants this year.  Many of them have already fallen to the ground. Here's what they look like growing on the plant and after picking.

I like to pop a couple in my mouth ever so often and chew them which produces a burst of refreshing anise flavor. Today, I made a cup of fennel tea.  I first took about a teaspoon of seed and crushed them in my mortar and pestle.

I put the crushed seed in my teapot basket.  I love my little enamel coated cast iron teapot! 

The basket is made of fine mesh wire and fits down in the teapot.

Next step was to pour boiling water over the fennel seed, put on the lid and steep for a few minutes.

I drank the tea straight, but I'm sure it would have been better with a touch of honey!

Fennel is a perennial plant and will come up year after year from the roots.  It requires very little care and even makes a nice plant for your flower bed.  It gets rather tall, though, so put it toward the back of the bed.   I encourage you to give it a try.  I don't think you will regret it.