Harvesting, Drying, Storing & Using Fennel
Harvest fennel when it is about to bloom. Snip the leaves and use fresh for optimum flavor. Harvest fennel seeds as soon as they turn from green to brown on the stalk, which usually occurs in late summer. Cut off each flower, being careful not to spread the seeds on the ground (fennel can be prolific).
Place the seed heads in a paper bag and give it a good shake to knock free the seeds. If you want, let the seeds dry in the paper bag, but poke holes in the bag for ventilation and hang in a place with good ventilation. Once the flowers are dried, separate the seeds from the stems and other matter.
Drying the seeds:
Place the seeds on a drying screen and put in a warm, well ventilated spot for a few days.
Use the oven. Scatter the seeds on a cooking tray lined with parchment paper (so that the seeds won’t touch the metal and burn). Set the oven to the lowest temperature for 10-15 minutes.
Storing the Seeds:
Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Fennel will keep its flavor for months.
Young plants and tender leaves can be used for garnishes and flavoring salads.
Fennel seeds are used in cooking, confectionery and flavoring liquors.Go to Gardening Information →