OK - Let's start with a History lesson. In 470 BC there was a famous Battle between the Persians and the Greeks at a place called Marathon. News of this victory was carried to the Greeks by Pheidippides who ran 26 miles to report the victory and promptly died as a result of his epic run.
The battle was ever after immortalised in the Olympic games with the introduction of a 26 mile race called a Marathon in honour of Pheidippides' heroic efforts.
The battle itself was fought in a field of Fennel and the ancient Greek word for fennel is in fact "Marathon."
Fennel is native to hot climes such as the Mediterranean and was grown for its liqourice smell and tasty leaves. The plant has been around for some time and was used by Roman soldiers in particular for the relief of flatulence.
The plant was brought over to England we think by the Roman Army and was successfully introduced into the environment of the time and flourished.
In those days the climate in Britain was much warmer than today - in fact the Roman Army grew grape vines on the Roman Wall in the north of England. That tells us a lot about the latest Scientists scare - Global Warming. It was much warmer 2000 years ago before Industrialisation than it is today - but I digress.
The plant grows all year round and is made up of three different parts:
All can be eaten and Fennel is well established as an herbal aid to Cooking but in addition can be eaten raw when it smells of liqourice and is crispy and crunchy.
Fennel has many health benefits which I will go into in my next Article. For now I will recommend the use of Fennel seed to make an infusion of Fennel Tea. Simply add a teaspoon of Fennel seeds into a tea pot, leave to infuse for 5 minutes (or leave to stew as my Gran used to say) and then strain into a cup as normal ( the Romans did not have tea bags so I assume you still have a tea strainer). Then drink the brew neat without additions to get the full taste and benefits of the brew.
i hope you find this article useful and I will return to the subject another time to discuss the health benefits of Fennel and look at cultivation issues.
Terry Blackburn. Internet Marketing Consultant, living in South Shields in the North-East of England. Author and Producer of blog http://www.lawnsurgeon.blogspot.com/. Author of "Your Perfect Lawn," a 90 Page eBook devoted to Lawn Preparation, Lawn Care and Maintenance. I would be very interested to have your comments on this Article.