Harvesting Fennel (Finnochio) Bulbs


Fennel (Photo credit: Satrina0)

I harvested my fennel bulbs (Finnochio) as some of them are starting to bolt. I left a few in as the flowers attract beneficial insects and I will keep the seeds. I plan to blanch most of them, freeze them and cook them later. I’m also drying some of the fronds to use as herbs.

Cioppino is a fish stew that originated in San Francisco. It was developed in the late 1800s by Portuguese and Italian fishermen from Genoa, Italy who settled in San Francisco. It is served with crusty bread. Even if you haven’t grown Italian fennel (which is the bulbing variety), you can buy some at the store and try this recipe-it is delicious.

On New Year’s Day, I merged two recipes of Cioppino to come up with this one. I liked the fennel in it so much that I decided to try to grow some this season. It is really easy to grow but must be started in early spring.

Here is my MOST FAVORITE RECIPE for using fennel.


Cioppino (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 large shallots, chopped
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
5 cups fish stock
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp – peeled and deveined
1 1/2 pounds bay scallops
18 small clams
18 mussels, cleaned and debearded
1 1/2 pounds assorted firm-fleshed fish fillets such as cod, halibut or salmon, cut into 2-inch pc
1 1/2 cups crabmeat

Growing Bulb Fennel (Finocchio)

Finocchio fennel. Photo courtesy of growingherbsforbeginners.com

More on another new vegetable I’m trying this year-Finocchio Fennel.

There are several types of fennel, the bulb type (which is Italian called Finocchio or Florence), sweet fennel (fern like) and bronze fennel (fern like). All can be used as an herb but sweet and bronze are used for their foliage in cooking and Finocchio or Florence is used for the bulb in cooking. Sweet or bronze fennel will not bulb up. I used Finocchio in a Cioppino (seafood stew) at New Year’s and it was so wonderful that I decided to grow some. This post is about Finocchio Fennel.

I tried to grow some inside from seed- it didn’t do very well only getting a few to germinate so I ended up I buying a little pack at Agua Fria nursery here in Santa Fe.

Fennel growing well-May 7

Now from from what I’ve read they are not suppose to transplant well in the soil but I had so many of them in each little cell (and they were very young) that I teased the roots apart (carefully) and transplanted them directly into the soil.  I then put a drip on each one, made a little well that I put straw in so the water would not evaporate and then I put a cage I made out of wire material and covered it with some row cover. I was afraid the row cover might be too heavy directly on the baby fennels at first as they were very delicate-hence the cage. I thought the row cover would add more protection from the wind. Fennel can handle the cold (in fact it likes it) but the wind was what I was worried about.

closeup of developing bulbs

Here is a picture of the one of them developing bulbs. All 17 of them are doing really well.