Fennel is a plant with no waste since you can eat its bulbs, stems, leaves, and seeds. It has a slight aniseed flavor, and smell that goes well with several dishes, and here is the first thing you need to know about the fennel storage.
I advise you to keep the fennel in parts. The bulbs, stems, and leaves can be refrigerated for 7 to 10 days and frozen for about six months. The seeds have to dry to be able to store them for two years at room temperature.
If you would like to know how to preserve fennel in the right way, continue reading.
How to select a good fennel
When buying fresh fennel, ensure it is in excellent condition to last much longer. The first thing you have to check is the quality of the bulb, which should be large and white, without stains or rotten areas.
Its stems have to be smooth, and its leafy and green leaves. Sometimes, when the fennel leaves begin to wither, the sellers cut them, so if there is fennel without stems and leaves, avoid buying those.
Finally, check its smell. Fresh fennel has an aroma between anise and licorice; those that lack odor or already smell bad are not fresh.
How to store fennel in the fridge
As I mentioned at the beginning, I recommend you keep the fennel in parts as follows:
- Step 1: Cut the fennel.
Carefully cut the fennel stems about 1 or 2 fingers above the bulb with a sharp knife. Avoid tightly squeezing the fennel bulb because it can bruise with some ease, and that will make it rot much faster.
- Step 2: Bag the fennel.
Wrap the fennel bulb with a paper towel, do the same with the stem next to the leaves, then put them inside a non-airtight bag.
The stem with leaves can also be immersed in a glass container with water and covered with a bag.
- Step 3: Set the date of storage of the fennel.
Write the date of storage of the fennel on the bag.
- Step 4: Store the fennel in the refrigerator.
Place fennel in a not-very cold area, such as in a refrigerator door compartment or near it, in the vegetable drawer.
This way, fennel can be 7 to 10 days inside the refrigerator. If you put fennel stalks in water, remember to change it every other day.
And in case you have chopped the fennel, either its bulb, stems, and leaves, and you have some leftovers, you can put it inside an airtight container and store it at the bottom of your refrigerator.
Thus, you will keep fennel chopped into small pieces in the fridge for 3 or 4 days.
How to freeze fennel
Here is how you freeze fennel:
- Step 1: Cut and wash the fennel.
Cut the stem about 1 or 2 fingers above the fennel bulb. Then wash them with plenty of water.
- Step 2: Blanch the fennel.
Before blanching the bulb, chop it into quarters, put them in a pot with boiling water, and cook for 1 minute. Then remove the pieces and put them immediately in a bowl with cold water and ice cubes to cut the cooking.
You can do the same with the stems next to the leaves. Finally, strain and dry the excess water with absorbent paper.
- Step 3: Transfer to a sturdy bag or container.
Place the bulb and stem of the fennel you blanched in a bag or container that may be in the freezer.
If you have not blanched the different parts of the fennel, wrap it first with plastic before putting it in the bag or container.
You can also remove the fennel leaves, put them in molds to make ice cubes, and cover them with water or oil. Freeze for two or four hours, then unmold and pass the cubes to a freezer bag.
- Step 4: Write the storage date of the fennel.
Using an indelible ink marker, note the storage date on the bag or put that information on a label you will pay to the container.
- Step 5: Freeze the fennel.
Fennel can last frozen for about six months. After that, you do not need to defrost it since you can cook it fresh from the freezer.
But if you want to thaw it, pass it to the fridge and wait for it to thaw for about 12 hours. Eating it that same day would be best since it cannot be refrozen or refrigerated again.
How to dehydrate fennel?
Dehydration is an excellent option for long-term storage, and you can dehydrate the fennel bulb and leaves without using the fridge.
How to dehydrate the fennel bulb
- Step 1: Wash and cut the fennel.
Cut the stem about 2 or 3 centimeters above the fennel bulb. Then wash the bulb with plenty of water and dry it with paper towels. Next, cut the fennel bulb into quarters and strips as thin as possible.
- Step 2: Dehydrate the fennel bulb.
Place the thin strips of fennel on the trays of the food dehydrator, side by side, without piling up, adjust the temperature to about 130°F-140°F (55°C-60°C) and dehydrate for about 6 or 8 hours.
If you do not have this device, you can use your oven, which you should preheat to the lowest possible temperature. Meanwhile, prepare a tray with parchment paper or a nonstick sheet and arrange the strips of the fennel bulb on it without piling up.
Bake for 2 to 4 hours. You will know they are ready when the strips get brittle to the touch.
- Step 3: Pack the dehydrated fennel bulb.
To make a powder, wait for the bulb to cool before liquefying the dried bulb pieces. Then, pass it to a glass jar with an airtight lid, although a plastic container or airtight bag still serves.
- Step 4: Write the preparation date.
Place the date you dehydrated the fennel bulb over the container or bag.
- Step 5: Save the fennel bulb dehydrated.
Place the container with the dehydrated fennel bulb in a place of your weight that is always dry, where sunlight and heat do not hit. Thus, the fennel powder bulb can last one year at room temperature.
The fennel powder bulb can last a little longer inside the freezer; just put it inside a resistant container for 18 to 24 months.
How to dehydrate fennel leaves
To dehydrate the fennel leaves, you can follow the same lines exposed in the previous point, using a food dehydrator (although, in this case, it would only need about 6 hours to dry) or an oven (for 2 or 3 hours).
But you can also hang the bunches of leaves, which you should cut from the fennel stem, in a place that remains well ventilated, but where sunlight does not hit it.
Fennel leaves should be brittle after two to four weeks at room temperature. However, you can easily shred them inside a bag and then pass them into an airtight container (which can be glass or plastic).
Dry fennel leaves can also be at room temperature for a year in a dry, cool, dark place. Also, you can put the dehydrated fennel leaves in the freezer for 18 to 24 months.
How to store fennel in vinegar
You can also pickle fennel, especially the bulb. Thus, apart from adding flavor, you can keep it a good season.
- Step 1: Wash and chop the fennel.
Cut the stems to fennel, wash the bulb with water and then chop the bulb into juliennes.
- Step 2: Prepare the liquid for pickling.
Add 1 cup of vinegar, 1 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of coarse salt, 4 tablespoons of sugar, and some peppercorns. Boil until the sugar and salt dissolve completely.
In this step, you can add spices combined with fennel to highlight its flavor. Then turn off the heat and wait for it to rest for about 5 minutes.
- Step 3: Fill the jars.
In glass jars with a screw cap or airtight lid, you will put the fennel bulb into julienne, then cover the fennel with the liquid you prepared.
Do not fill the jar; leave one finger free. Before closing, the lid area is well impious.
- Step 4: Vacuum-seal the jars.
Place a rack or tea towel at the bottom of a thick-bottomed pot, then arrange the jar(s) with fennel. Add water to cover the jar(s), turn the stove to the maximum, and cover the pot.
When it starts to boil, lower a little heat, and let it cook for 20 or 30 minutes. After that, the pressure will have sealed the jar, so turn off the stove and wait for the water to cool before removing it.
- Step 5: Remove the jars and let them stand in the shade.
Take out the jars with fennel in vinegar and place them on a table or countertop where the sun does not hit, and let them rest for about 6 to 12 hours.
- Step 6: Write the storage date of the pickled fennel.
Specify the date the pickled fennel is prepared on a label and then affix it to the jar, or you can write the date on the lid.
- Step 7: Save the pickled fennel.
You can place the sealed pickled fennel jar in a dry, dark, and cool place. Pickled fennel can be at room temperature for a year.
You can also store the jar sealed with pickled fennel in the fridge for 12 to 18 months. Then, when you have opened the pot, the pickled fennel should remain refrigerated for 3 to 4 weeks.
How to preserve fennel seeds
If you buy fennel seeds, they are usually sealed in bags or plastic containers, and you can store them that way in a dark, cool, and dry place until the expiration date indicated by the manufacturer.
Once you uncover them, you must pass the fennel seeds to an airtight container, preferably glass, and store them at room temperature (a place free of moisture, dark, and cool) for 2 or 4 years.
But if you have extracted or want to extract the fennel seed, to save it, you must do the following:
- Step 1: Remove the inflorescences.
Carefully extract the inflorescences from the fennel stem with a sharp knife.
- Step 2: Put the inflorescences in a bag.
Place the inflorescences you extracted from the fennel stem in a paper bag, then shake them hard for a few minutes. In this way, the seeds will come out of the inflorescences.
- Step 3: Remove the seeds.
Pour everything into the bag on a plate or tray so that you can remove the fennel seeds.
- Step 4: Dry the seeds.
You can spread the seeds on a drying mesh and leave it at room temperature, in a dark and ventilated place, to dry them for 2 or 4 days.
Or you could spread the fennel seeds on a tray with parchment paper and bake at the lowest temperature possible for 7 or 10 minutes.
- Step 5: Transfer to a glass jar.
Once the seeds are dry, put them in an airtight container (if it is much better glass). If you baked it, wait for them to cool before storing them.
- Step 6: Write down the storage date.
Please put the date of storage of fennel seeds on a label so that you can then stick it to the jar.
- Step 7: Store the seeds at room temperature.
Put the jar in a place that stays cool, free of moisture, and dark in your pantry. That way, fennel seeds can be in good condition for 1 to 2 years at room temperature.
How to know if fennel could be bad?
If fennel has any of these characteristics, it will have been spoiled:
- Withered parts.
- Mold (black or white spots or lint).
- It does not smell nice.
- Rare taste.
- Viscosity and exceptionally soft areas in the case of fresh fennel.
Why does fennel spoil?
Fennel is a plant composed of a large amount of water, making it the perfect nest for any microorganism, such as bacteria or fungi.
So if fennel is not preserved in a suitable environment, it will end up rotting quickly, in addition to different insects and vermin can be attracted by its smell.
How long does fennel last?
|Fresh fennel in the fridge
|7 – 10 days
|Chopped fennel in the fridge
|3 – 4 days
|Dehydrated fennel at room temperature
|Dehydrated fennel in the freezer
|18 – 24 months
|Pickled fennel at room temperature (sealed)
|Pickled fennel in the fridge (sealed)
|12 – 18 months
|Pickled fennel in the fridge (opened)
|3 – 4 weeks
|Fennel seeds at room temperature (sealed commercial package)
|Until the expiration date
|Fennel seeds at room temperature (opened package)
|2 – 4 years
|Fennel seeds (natural) at room temperature
|1 – 2 years
What is the best way to preserve fennel?
As far as fresh fennel is concerned, the best way to preserve it is to store it in the fridge in parts, never all the whole fennel, because it would be damaged faster.
You can also freeze it, but it is no longer the same as fresh. In addition, to preserve its flavor better, you have to blanch the fennel before.
In long-term storage, I can also mention dehydration, so you can make a fennel powder that will serve to season different dishes.
You can also pickle fennel to preserve it for quite some time if you vacuum seals the jar, and you will also add flavor.
You can keep fennel seeds at room temperature for a long time, so it is unnecessary to preserve them in any other way.
If you want to learn how to preserve some vegetables, keep in mind that on this website there are many topics about food storage that are constantly updated.