Fennel: benefits and properties for the health of the organism
Amongst the plants in the vegetable garden, fennel it certainly stands out for its beneficial properties.
Of excellent flavor, and suitable for both raw and cooked consumption, fennel is a typical Mediterranean plant.
Fennel and its properties
Of fennel there is the variety grown in the garden, but also the wild one which can be found spontaneously growing in the countryside and along the roads. Both types of fennel have digestive properties and are effective against aerophagia, but not only that. Fennel is a good diuretic, antispasmodic, antiemetic and carminative. Furthermore, its ability to reduce air colic is well known, especially in infants and children. A good-tasting vegetable of which every part is used, from the fragrant leaves to flavor the dishes, to the heart, or the white part that is erroneously defined as bulb.
Cultivation of fennel is not easy, but a few tricks are enough to achieve healthy fruits.
Although known since ancient times for its aromatic properties, fennel became a common garden vegetable only around 1500.
The plant belongs to the Umbelliferae family; it is native to Asia, but has settled perfectly in the Mediterranean climate. It can be cultivated by sowing in August or September, to have fruits during the winter, or there is the possibility of dedicating oneself to spring cultivation, which is profitable from the end of summer, but it is more demanding for managing the temperature and especially for the humidity that fennel needs.
For lovers of greenery and the vegetable garden at home, it must be said that fennel can be grown on the balcony, respecting the same general indications that apply to growing in the garden.
Fennel in the vegetable garden
Fennel requires, for an unproblematic growth, a well drained soil, enriched with manure, humid, but without water stagnation. Not only should it not be sown for two consecutive years in the same place, but it is also necessary to avoid alternating it with beans, cabbage, turnips and tomatoes, which would not benefit from such a rotation.
To obtain white and sweet buds, fennel must be tucked up; in this way it is also protected from frost, if it is grown in the winter season. The tucking should be done when the seedling is the size of an apple, or at least a couple of weeks before harvest. Alternatively, it can be covered periodically, so as to always keep it repaired.
The merits and virtues of fennel have been known since ancient times.
The typical pure white vegetable owes its characteristic aroma and flavor to anethole which, together with other essences, makes it so effective in remedying various digestive system issues.
Fennel contains mineral salts, especially potassium, phosphorus and calcium, vitamins A, B and C, it is diuretic and stimulates the gastric secretion. Great for cycle-related disorders, for lactating women and, thanks to its very few calories, perfect for calming hunger and losing excess weight, this vegetable can become part of anyone's diet.
The consumption of raw fennel allows you to better assimilate its beneficial properties, and the rest of the vegetable lends itself very well to being inserted in salads or as a side dish to meat or fish.
The leaves can be added to dishes, enriching them with the soft characteristic aroma, but they are also used to give the dishes a pleasant decorative touch.
The wild variety, also called wild fennel, is the one that best lends itself to the preparation of deflating and effective herbal teas against aerophagia. For this purpose, the seeds collected in late summer and prepared in infusions or decoctions, also with the addition of other herbs, are used. They can be sweetened with honey or eaten naturally, sipped during the day and in particular after meals.
A walk in the countryside at the end of September, before the autumn rains, allows you to harvest the flower's ends, rich in seeds; when dried in the shade and stored, they will provide pleasant herbal teas throughout the winter.
It is a good habit to intake fennel regularly to take advantage of its ability to counteract the fermentation processes of the intestine. Fennel has properties that make it one of the most useful vegetables for the well-being of the body, a true gift of nature.