IN SEASON - June, October
Fennel is composed of a white or pale green bulb from which closely superimposed stalks are arranged. The stalks are topped with feathery green leaves near which flowers grow and produce fennel seeds. The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds are all edible. Fennel belongs to the Umbellifereae family and is therefore closely related to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander.
If used within a couple of days after it's bought, fennel can be left out on the counter upright in a cup of water. If wanting to keep longer then a few days, place in the refrigerator in a closed container with a little water. Do not wash fennel bulbs before refrigerating them; the moisture causes them to become mushy.
Wash fennel stalks thoroughly and use in soups and stews. The feathery leaves can be used as a herb or garnish. The fennel bulb must be washed, trimmed at the base, and then can be sliced as called for in recipes.