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In the modern world, people no longer imagine cooking without using all kinds of spices and herbs.
Some of them have been known to us since childhood, and some we are discovering for ourselves only now. So, in Russia, a new seasoning is beginning to gain popularity - fennel.
From this article you will find out what kind of spice it is, what are its benefits and harms. You will read about the chemical composition of fennel, about the peculiarities of eating and using in traditional medicine.
What is this spice?
The fennel seasoning consists of the seeds of the plant of the same name., which are located in its inflorescences. They have a sweet-spicy taste and a pleasant aroma that combines the aroma of dill and anise. Fennel seeds are small, oblong and greenish-brown in color.
Scientists have found that the first mentions of fennel are found in the books of Ancient India. Even then, it was used as a seasoning for dishes, which not only improves their taste, but also protects against many diseases. In Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, the plant was used after a meal to freshen breath and improve digestion. In the Middle Ages, the spice spreads in Europe and begins to be grown in the field.
Benefits and chemical composition
- The condiment contains a large amount of antioxidants, which are excellent for the prevention of cancer.
- Fennel has anti-inflammatory effects and helps to eliminate high blood cholesterol levels.
- The use of the seasoning in the daily diet has a beneficial effect in the treatment of pneumonia, bronchitis and hepatitis.
- Fennel is an indispensable tool for keeping your eyes sharp, strengthening hair roots and improving memory.
- A pleasant property of the spice is the ability to accelerate metabolism, stabilize blood sugar levels, thereby reducing the desire to eat sweets and starchy foods. That is why the seasoning is so popular among those who want to lose excess weight.
- Experts have proven that the properties of fennel are also useful for the care of mature skin. The phytoestrogens contained in its composition are indispensable for eliminating wrinkles and skin pigmentation disorders.
- This spice is able to treat alcohol poisoning, as it neutralizes toxins and carcinogenic substances in the blood.
The spice is rich in minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and chromium. They contain vitamins of groups A, B and C, as well as a significant amount of essential oils.
Harm and contraindications
The risk of using fennel exists in cases of intolerance to this product by the body. It is also contraindicated for pregnant women, as it can cause unwanted spasms (read more about the beneficial properties of fennel and contraindications for women in general in another publication). It is not recommended to combine fennel with other diuretic drugs, as they enhance the effect, which negatively affects a person's well-being.
The components of fennel essential oils are dangerous in case of an overdose: They cause breathing problems, heart palpitations and bleeding. Therefore, it is important to use the seasoning in moderation (what is fennel essential oil?).
The beneficial properties and contraindications of fennel are described in detail here.
Eating in food
Fennel spice has a sweet and spicy flavor, but with a bit of bitterness. It is popular in Mediterranean, Arabic, Indian and Chinese cuisines. Fennel is popular among pastry chefs as well. It is customary to add crushed seeds to the dough, and buns and cookies are decorated with whole ones.
It is often used in meat and fish dishes, less often in soups and salads. The most popular seasoning is used in the preparation of pork, carp and pike.... To reveal the flavor of the seasoning, it can be heated in a skillet or lightly rubbed with your fingers. It is worth remembering that seeds are used in a ratio of 3-4 g of spice per 1 kg of meat.
In India, it is customary to serve fennel seeds after a large meal to improve digestion and fresh breath. Since the seasoning goes well with other spices, it was included in mixtures such as curry, European and Provencal.
Use in traditional medicine
Fennel seeds are popular at home as a cure for many diseases. It has long been noted that it is useful to add spice to meals with a large feast, as it improves digestion and helps remove toxins from the body.
The soothing effect of fennel is also known.... Its pleasant scent helps to reduce irritability and calm the nerves. It is recommended for use and use by people who experience daily stress at work.
For those who want to lose weight, this seasoning is also indispensable, as it dulls the feeling of hunger and helps to feel full faster. In addition, it saturates the body with useful trace elements, which a person lacks with limited nutrition.
For more information on what can be made from fennel, how to use it in cooking and medicine, read separately.
How to prepare?
The seeds are harvested after they are ripe, when they turn light brown. This stage lasts two months - August and September. The ripening process of fennel fruits is uneven, so the collection takes place repeatedly.
In order to dry fennel seeds, you need:
- Cut off inflorescences (called umbrellas).
- Put them in a dry, dark place (for 2-3 days).
- Grind the dried inflorescences between the palms over the newspaper so that the seeds separate from the stem.
- Peel the seeds.
- Pour the fennel seeds into a jar with a tight lid.
How to choose and where to buy?
When buying a seasoning in the form of seeds, you should pay attention to their appearance. They should be light brown in color, dense in structure, with pronounced veins.
You can buy dried seasoning at any supermarket.as well as in grocery markets. The price for 100 grams of spice was set in the range from 80 to 120 rubles in Moscow and from 70 to 100 rubles in St. Petersburg.
Thus, fennel can be confidently called indispensable in the kitchen of any housewife. It gives an exquisite taste to dishes and has a wide range of beneficial properties for the body. It is necessary for people of any age, everyone will find in it a remedy for many ailments.