Why you should harvest FENNEL POLLEN
The effect, in every case, is positively transformative.
Peggy Knickerbocker (true name) is an esteemed San Francisco-based food writer who has contributed to Gourmet, Saveur, Food and Wine, House and Garden, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times.
Her take on fennel pollen is irresistible.
“If angels sprinkled a spice from their wings, this would be it,” she wrote. “I sprinkled a pinch of it on fish before grilling. I scattered a bit over roasted vegetables, and then I tried it on a pork roast. The effect, in every case, was positively transformative.”
Fennel pollen is a traditional food in the Calabria region of Italy. It has a honey-aniseed flavour, and I’ve found it lifts many dishes, especially chicken and fish.
You need just a pinch or two, which is good because each flower head yields about one-quarter of a teaspoon.
Fennel is incredibly easy to grow and once planted, you’ll never have a shortage.
To harvest the pollen:
choose a dry day snip off the flower heads when the flowers are open and pollen is showing
push the heads into a paper bag with the stems poking out
tie the bag with string, then hang the bags in a cool, dry room for 1-2 weeks to dry
once dry, give the bags a shake and the pollen will fall to the bottom of the bag
store pollen in an airtight container; it will keep for several months
Jane Wrigglesworth is a gardening writer, blogger, and publisher of the digital magazine, Sweet Living. www.sweetlivingmagazine.co.nz www.flamingpetal.co.nz