We do a lot of gardening around here. Husband prefers flowers, but takes pity on me and my “thriftiness” and agrees to grow fruit and veg in a smaller, dedicated section of the garde, which is sort of walled off by bushes from his precious flowers. You should see the games he plays with Monk’s slide – if it just stayed in one place, then the beloved grass might suffer… G-d forbid we ever have a swing set… I think that’s the real reason why one has been in planning for the past two years.
Anywho – as the season’s getting late, we’re left with what we’re left with – we’re not advanced enough gardeners to have produce from it all year long. We’re down to some scraggly baby courgettes / zuchinni (but just think what you would pay for those in a shop – bargain!), a few raspberries (but those never get eaten by me), and one raised bed which has had some bit of success with mixed veg. Predominantly, this holds fennel, a bit of chard, and one or two kohlrabi (I don’t think these last ones will ever get big enough to eat before the frost gets them – do they over winter?).
The chard I find quite easy to use – and to be honest, there just isn’t that much of it to be concerned with (I keep hearing about people having gluts of bountiful harvest in their home gardens – I have never personally experienced this, but I am really hopeful that it will happen some day). The fennel, however, is a bit more tricky.
We’re not the biggest of Anise lovers, so the flavour needs to be used a bit sparingly. I’ve so far managed to roast the heads twice (great with a bit of balsamic and mustard, and even better mixed with other things), but am unlikely to get away with much more (although ideas are greatly appreciated). It’s those darn frilly heads that I’ve been more concerned with.
It all goes back to my “thriftiness” (which some might categorise as tight, hard up, or simply cheap). I just hate to spend and hate to waste even more!
We don’t really do stock (I don’t think there’s enough value add in making your own vs buying – and I like the saltiness of the store bought). It’s unlikely to be accepted in salads (see anise comment above). So I figured, I might as well make tea.
Add boiling water to one largish fennel frond and leave to steep as long as you want.
The fennel stays in the tea pot whilst you pour, but as ours are home-grown, there is a bit of bug straining that needs doing – it all adds to the flavour, right?
I’ve seen loads of fennel tea in the supermarkets – apparently it’s full of health benefits – great for digestive health too. And so much more expensive in store than at home. So a great budget friendly drink that’s good for my insides and for my wallet (and therefore my sanity).