Our desert fennel comes from an organic farm in central Egypt, where fennel has been cultivated for millennia. It's grown in an oasis in the desert, irrigated with water from the Nile, and in the spring the air is sweet with the licorice smell of fennel flowers. You'll taste a slight saltiness - that's the flavor of the sandy desert soil - followed by a sharp vegetal sweetness at the finish.
- Origin: Fayoum, Egypt
- Process: Sun dried on the stalk
- Ingredients: 100% organically-grown fennel seeds (Foeniculum vulgare)
- Tasting notes: Licorice • Mineral Salt • Desert Grass
- Add whole to stir fries or curries
- Toss with vegetables before roasting
- Grind and combine with salt, pepper, chili for meat rubs
- In Spinach with Cumin and Garlic (community recipe)
- In Yellow Cardamom Ice Cream with Candied Fennel Seeds (community recipe)
- Pairs well with: Silk Chili Flakes, Nile Coriander, Zanzibar Black Peppercorns
The fennel is grown by smallholder farmers in central Egypt, in an oasis west of the Nile where ancient canal systems divert the Nile's waters to irrigate the fields. The plants flower in the spring, with bunches of tiny yellow flowers with a beautiful licorice fragrance. The seeds are harvested by hand in early summer, and farmers use a special curved knife to cut the 6-8 foot tall fennel plants down, and the seeds are pulled off by hand.
Meet the Farmer: Partner farmer Ali is pictured showing off his newest crop. The breeze smells like licorice as we walked through the fields.