Juicing fennel is a great way to reap all the many health benefits fennel offers. Long utilized in the Mediterranean world as both a food ingredient and a cure-all, this nutrient-rich herb possess antibacterial and immune-boosting properties, and anecdotal evidence suggests fennel may also help alleviate anemia and indigestion. Fennel juice combines well with juices of other fruits and vegetables, and its signature licorice flavor adds subtle spice and exotic fragrance.
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Fennel: The Unsung Miracle Herb
You can find fennel at larger supermarkets year round, but it's best purchased and used in season -- summer and fall. The smaller, rounder fennel bulbs (often referred to as female) tend to be sweeter and less fibrous. Fennel's signature flavor is derived from two compounds: anethole, a chemical sweeter than sugar that imparts the licorice element, and limonene, responsible for fennel's citrusy notes. At 6 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber per cup, fennel is a filling and satisfying addition to any low-carb regimen. Fennel also provides 10 percent of the daily value of potassium, so it's perfect for maintaining the electrolyte balance in the body.
Before Juicing, a Good Wash
One consideration when juicing fennel is whether or not to remove the core at the base of the bulb. This portion, called the heart of the fennel bulb, is often removed prior to cooking because of its tough and fibrous texture. Since you will be juicing, you can go ahead and leave the core intact. You will want to give your fennel, and additional fruits and veggies, a good wash prior to juicing. This will remove sand, dirt and surface pesticides. Place your fruits and veggies in a clean sink. Fill it with enough cold water to cover the produce. Add 1 to 2 cups of white vinegar and several tablespoons of sea salt. Soak for 10 to 15 minutes. If you are juicing more delicate vegetables along with your fennel, take these out after a couple minutes.
Depending upon your juicer, you might be able to juice the entire fennel bulb at once, or you might have to chop it into pieces. One medium fennel bulb (about the size of a fist) will yield 3 to 4 ounces of juice. This serving provides sufficient amounts of fennel's nutrients. Turn fennel juice into tea by diluting it with any bagged or bulk tea you have on hand and adding a wedge of lemon. Drink with or without sweetener.
You can drink fennel juice on its own or mixed with other juices. Some common combinations include apple and ginger; carrot and beet; cucumber and lime with a touch of honey or agave; orange and celery; and practically any other fruits and vegetables you enjoy. Beyond juice blends, fennel juice makes for a wonderful smoothie base. Or, make ice cubes out of fennel juice, and toss these into a blender with orange juice, strawberry and banana to add coolness and crunch to a fruit smoothie.