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Gary350
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5 grocery stores don't have the herbs I need?

I went to 2 Walmarts and 3 grocery stores but no fennel ball plants an no fennel in the fresh herb section. I have seen fennel plants in summer at grocery stores, they must be out of season now. I have never bought or grown fennel I have never had a recipe that called for fennel. Now I'm interested in growing fennel next year.

Has anyone grown fennel?

I am always in search of new food to cook especially food from another country that we have never eaten. It would be great to travel just to eat food from other countries or live in a big city where there is as, China town, little Italy, German town, little India, etc. Next best thing cook it myself.

I saw, Italian Porchette Pork Loin Rosemary Fennel on Americans Test Kitchen it looks so good I want to make some. Recipe is pork loin, fennel, rosemary, sage, garlic, onion, red pepper, black pepper, salt. They call it, Fennel Ball on the cooking show, use the tops or the ball for herbs. Some recipes also include, thyme. Several YouTube videos show each persons version how to make this.

Today at the store we learned there are 6 different companies selling their version of Porchette Pork Loin. The Porchette we bought is the only brand that includes several of the herbs in the authentic recipe. We sliced the meat in 1/2" thick slices put it in the crock pot to cook until 4pm this will be dinner tonight with corn on the cob, baked beans, home made bread. Still no fennel in what we cooked.

Porchette did not turn out to be anything to brag about, now I'm not very excited about growing fennel as I was. Maybe fennel & sage would have made this taste better?
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rainbowgardener
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Re: 5 grocery stores don't have the herbs I need?

Yes, I have grown fennel, but usually for the leaves and seeds, not the root "balls." It is related to dill and is just as easy to grow.
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applestar
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Re: 5 grocery stores don't have the herbs I need?

The vegetable fennel takes a while to grow, so I think they tend to be more often stocked in fall through winter months, and I tend to see them not in the herb section but with celery and chilled and misted root vegetables like carrots, turnips, sometime also daikon — that kind of general area of the produce section.
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Re: 5 grocery stores don't have the herbs I need?

I have grown finocchio fennel. I use it for pest control and the bulb is good for stir fry, roasting, and salads. You do have to harvest them before the bulb opens up. Fennel does not like company, so it is best to plant it 10 ft away from everything else. There are only a few things that it is compatible with. The fronds have a licorice flavor and goes well in fruit salads, and the seeds are used in baking and spice blends.

It is a long crop. Finocchio fennel is technically perennial in zones 6-10, but I replace mine every year. It reseeds, so to contain it, I harvest the seed heads before they drop. It is a cool season crop. I plant mine where it is in partial shade. It can tolerate some heat, but it needs to form the bulbs in cool weather or it will open up and flower. It flowers for months and the flowers are what attracts the beneficial insects and fennel is an aphid trap. The aphids don't bother it much, but ladybugs will rear their larvae on the fennel since there are plenty of aphids for them to eat.

Fennel will stunt most plants within 10 ft of it once it flowers, but will protect a whole garden by increasing the number of beneficial insects in the garden. Gynuura, horseradish, ginger don't seem to be bothered by it. Other plants as long as they are not loved by aphids benefit from proximity to the fennel. However, once fennel blooms it does stunt the nearby plants. It does not even like to be near its own relatives, parsley and dill.
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digitS'
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Re: 5 grocery stores don't have the herbs I need?

I have grown both of the common types of fennel.

Licorice flavors are appreciated for desserts and sweet drinks and I should have harvested seeds to see what could be done with them. I didn't really know what to do with either type. Maybe I could have tried sausage making again.

Honestly, I had a little trouble being anywhere around the flowering fennel. All day, it was just covered by wasps enjoying the nectar!

Steve
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pepperhead212
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Re: 5 grocery stores don't have the herbs I need?

Gary,

That fennel in that recipe you mentioned sounds more like fennel seeds, not the fennel ball. That is often used with those herbs you mentioned as a rub.

Here's the fennel bulb today, at the produce market nearby. I thought of this thread when I saw it! I sometimes grow it, but I didn't buy any, even though it looked really fresh. ImageIMG_20181214_094003439 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

They actually have a lot of Italian, Mexican, and Indian ingredients at this market, since there are many of them living in and around the township where this market is. I consider myself lucky, in that respect.
Dave

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Gary350
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Re: 5 grocery stores don't have the herbs I need?

pepperhead212 wrote:Gary,

That fennel in that recipe you mentioned sounds more like fennel seeds, not the fennel ball. That is often used with those herbs you mentioned as a rub.

Here's the fennel bulb today, at the produce market nearby. I thought of this thread when I saw it! I sometimes grow it, but I didn't buy any, even though it looked really fresh. ImageIMG_20181214_094003439 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

They actually have a lot of Italian, Mexican, and Indian ingredients at this market, since there are many of them living in and around the township where this market is. I consider myself lucky, in that respect.


America Test Kitchen used fennel seeds but several YouTube videos said, use fennel ball plant from grocery store don't pay $7 for a tiny bottle of seeds. I looked a bottle of fennel seeds really is $7.

Here is Italian Porchette Pork Loin if anyone wants to try it.

1 pork loin about 2 lbs
1/4 c fennel seeds
1/4 c rosemary
1/4 c sage
1/4 c thyme
1 T black pepper
2 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper
6 garlic cloves
1 large onion
Chop all the herbs in food processor.

Videos show lots of ways to cut and tie meat,
Large flat slices cover both sides with herbs roll them up like 1 jelly roll tie with string to bake.
Cut many slices in meat fill slices with herbs tie with string to bake.
Cut meat in many 1/4" thick slices cover all slices with herbs then tie meat stack with string to bake.
Bake 350 degree F for 3 hours then 400 degree F last 15 minutes.

I am not willing to pay $16 for herbs another $10 for meat to see if this is good. It looked good on TV we are not big meat eaters that is why i grow a garden.

I think meat will be burned to a crisp after 3 hours and that is how it looks when they remove from the oven. But inside is not burned. I think wrap it on foil will be better or cook in crock pot.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: 5 grocery stores don't have the herbs I need?

If you let one fennel plant go to seed, you will have more seeds than in the $7 bottle!!
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pepperhead212
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Re: 5 grocery stores don't have the herbs I need?

Gary, I can't remember the last time I bought spices from a supermarket - not only is it a rip-off, but they are nowhere near as fresh. Here is a favorite source, besides the local Indian grocery, which is even cheaper, with incredible turnover, so the spices are incredibly fresh.
https://www.spicesinc.com/p-48-organic-fennel-seed.aspx

You can see that they sell a small glass jar, which isn't real cheap, but the bulk amounts are much cheaper.
Dave

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Gary350
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Re: 5 grocery stores don't have the herbs I need?

We went to SPROUTS grocery store they have fennel in produce section & spice section too. I know they would. Fennel seeds are 99 cents per ounce. If we decided to cook Porchette again with all the real herbs I can buy 1 tablespoon of fennel seed just for this recipe. Fennel plant does not have much flavor compared to seeds. I have rosemary plant outside & the other herbs in pantry. Next year I will grow, fennel, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, garlic, parsley, in a small herb garden next to the house.
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Re: 5 grocery stores don't have the herbs I need?

"fennel, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, garlic, parsley,"

Onion and garlic I grow mixed in to every veggie bed, because it theoretically helps keeps pests from finding your plants.
Parsley and dill I also put into veggie beds, just because they need space.

Fennel, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano AND lavender, spearmint, savory, tarragon, chamomile I grow in containers on the deck. Easy to maintain that way and convenient to the kitchen. Anise hyssop, lemon balm, bee balm, and more lavender are in the fence line flower beds.
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Gary350
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Re: 5 grocery stores don't have the herbs I need?

I bought the fennel that I needed at Sprouts store, I used my rosemary plant growing in the back yard. I have all the other herbs, 1 large onion, 10 garlic cloves, chip in the food processor to make a marinade. Sliced pork loin gets marinades until tomorrow then it gets cooked for 3 hours. Next year I will be sure to have a small herb garden with the herbs that I need for cooking.

Porchette was cooked 3 hours at 350 degrees wrapped in aluminum foil in kitchen oven. This amount of herbs is probably more suited for 4 lbs of pork instead of 2 lbs of pork. American's Test Kitchen & YouTube videos had no information what to do after porchette is cooked. We tried to scrap herbs off on our dinner plate then learned it works much better to wash herbs off with the kitchen sink water sprayer. Dip meat slices in their cooked juices then it is ready to eat. WOW........herb amazing is flavor. This is very GOOD much better than the ready to cook thing we bought at the grocery store.
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