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A member of the carrot
family, Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a native of Italy and one of the most ancient of
cultivated plants. The Roman colonization of Italy spread the early use of the plant,
especially for culinary purposes. Used as a flavoring for salt-water fish, it was also
used to whiten, tenderize and deodorize the meat. The odor of Fennel seed is fragrant and
the taste is warm, sweet and aggreeable. Similar in taste to Dill and Anise, Fennel may be
substituted for them in recipes for interesting effects. The shoots and stalks can also be
eaten raw like celery.
In addition to Fennel's
culinary uses, it adds a sharp scent to poptpourris, sachets, perfumes and soaps. Fennel
is often used with other herbs for its soothing effect.