Giant fennel: dead or alive

Everywhere we look, there is wild fennel. It loves the stony ground here. It is a perennial herb, and doesn’t develop into the fleshy bulb that we are used to seeing in the supermarkets. But it is still edible. It is one of the prized targets of the locals, seen walking along roads and paths every day of the year, bag in hand, foraging for edible wild food. Easily collected are the seeds of the fennel plant, which can be dried and used all year round.

The first green fronds in spring are wonderful snipped off and used as a topping for stews or as an addition to salads. By the end of summer, the stems are tall and are drying out, bearing yellow flowers and bracts of immature seeds. These seeds eventually fall but the stems stay in place, turning silver and black over the winter, adding welcome shape and colour to the winter landscape here.

common wildflowers of spain by austen colwell 24-8-15

 

Please, always take care when foraging for wild food. Before you eat anything, make sure it is edible. This is a useful little book, Common Wildflowers of Spain by Austin Colwell [Santana Books].

 

5 to remember
gigante – giant
inmaturo/a – immature
una bráctea – a bract
alimentos silvestres – wild food
comestible – edible

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