Happy New Year! May it be a nourishing and uplifting one for you!
The wisdom that St. Hildegard shared long ago about natural healing, nutrition, and healthy living has been so helpful for me that I wanted to share a series of nourishing foods and recipes this month with you. I hope you enjoy this first one and it benefits your health in the new year.
In her homeland of Germany, St. Hildegard is well known for her contributions to holistic health and wellness, as one of the founders of alternative medicine. What she shared in her time was truly a seed planted that continues to flourish into our current times in the field of natural medicine.
St. Hildegard considered one of the most important plants to be fennel and wrote of its many health benefits. She recommended that “however eaten, fennel makes us happy, produces beautiful skin, good digestion and good body odor.”
Are you familiar with fennel? Have you eaten it?
Fennel is a wonderfully aromatic and versatile plant that can be used as a vegetable or an herb. It grows to be about 3 feet tall and has small, yellow flowers. With a white-green, crunchy stalk like celery and green fronds like dill, it has a burst of licorice flavor when you take a bite of it raw.
A member of the Apiaceae (carrot) family, fennel originated in the Mediterranean region and has many medicinal and health benefits.
Health Benefits of Fennel
Current research along with recommendations from herbalists indicate that fennel can support your health in these areas:
1. Supporting healthy skin – The beta-carotene and vitamin C support healthy skin including collagen production and tissue repair.
2. As an anti-inflammatory – Rich in antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamin C, helps to reduce inflammation, supporting a lower risk for chronic diseases.
3. An aid to digestion – Helps to relax the gastrointestinal system and reduce gas, bloating, and stomach cramps.
4. Supporting a healthy heart – like many vegetables, fennel helps to lower blood pressure and manage cholesterol.
One of my favorite ways to eat fennel is to roast it in the oven with a little olive and balsamic vinegar. It’s delicious and so simple as a side dish to any meal! Here’s how to prepare it:
Roasted Fennel Recipe
Cut the stalks off the fennel bulb (to use another time, maybe in salad!) and slice the bulb in half, lengthwise. Cut each half in wedges about 1 inch wide. Toss wedges with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add a splash (about 1 teaspoon) of balsamic vinegar. Roast in an oven at 400 degrees F on a baking pan brushed with olive oil for about 30-40 minutes or until the wedges are cooked through. Then eat them! Yum!
Do you love fennel so much that you want to have it handy all the time?
Growing Fennel at Home
Here’s a simple way to grow it right in your kitchen. Before you use your fennel bought at the store, cut off the base with a little of the attached bulb intact – about ¾-1 inch. Place this piece in a shallow dish of water with the base facing down in the water.
Set the dish in the sun and change the water every couple of days. Soon you’ll see green shoots growing from the base and then roots sprouting.
You can continue to grow your fennel in the shallow dish to have year-round or plant in soil in a deep container or your garden outside.
I hope you enjoy fennel as I do and let me know if you come up with any other creative ways to eat it!
I was born in London, England, educated in Switzerland, and am fluent in English, German, Spanish, and French. I hold a Doctorate in Ministry Degree and Masters Degrees in Counseling Psychology and Education. Also, I am an accomplished artist and educator. I use all of this and much more when helping others heal their souls.