Why you should har­vest FEN­NEL POLLEN

The ef­fect, in ev­ery case, is pos­i­tively trans­for­ma­tive.

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Growing -

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

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