How to select for best flavor:
Look for firm, white bulbs with crisp, rigid stalks and feather light-green leaves. Avoid bulbs with cut, damaged or yellowish stalks. Bunches that show flowering on the central stalk are overmature.
Peak of the season:
Fennel, also called Finocchio or Florence fennel, can be found in small quantities from September through May. It is slightly more available during the early part of the season and the price may be slightly lower. This is considered a specialty vegetable and the price is usually fairly high.
Fennel contains fair amounts of vitamin A and dietary fiber. It is low in calories, fat and sodium.
The bulb at the bottom is usually what is used. It adds an interesting licorice taste to salads. It is sometimes served cooked with a sauce in Italian cuisine.