Don’t Toss Fennel Stalks! Use Them Like Celery

published Mar 19, 2015
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(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Wondering what to do about those long, fibrous stalks once you’ve used the bulb of fennel? It’s a shame that more recipes don’t incorporate them into the same dish you’re making with the bulb. But alas, if that’s your fate, then don’t “discard,” but hang onto those fennel stalks. They’re handy in many ways, especially if you’re fond of making soups or just stock.

→ How to deal with fennel: How To Cut Fennel

Fennel stalks look similar to celery stalks, and have a crisp, herbal taste that’s somewhat aligned with them, too. Of course, fennel (from bulb to stalk to feathery fronds) has a distinctive anise flavor. But maybe that’s just the nuance your next soup or stew can use.

Try swapping in fennel stalks for celery the next time you’re chopping up mirepoix—that classic medley of onion, carrot and celery. A slow-braised beef stew might benefit from the subtle sweetness of these over a long simmer. Try quick-pickling the chopped fennel stalks, too, and adding them to another medley of vegetables known as giardiniera, or garden pickles. Or just slice them thinly on a bias and toss into the salad that you were supposed to use only the fennel’s bulb for.

Too good to waste and so versatile, perhaps one day you might even find yourself buying fennel, not just for the bulb.

5 Fennel Recipes to Try