This wintery time of the year always increases my appetite for veggie soups. Even though I am not a big fan of fasting (November to 15 December is a fasting period in the Orthodox Church), this time of the year is ideal for meat-detox. From 25 December to 7 January family dinners are non-stop! One key ingredient for unique soup tasting experiences is just a bit of dwarf fennel, called ‘finnochio’.
Fennel – ‘marathos’ in Greek – is known from the Romans to Chinese medicine for its nutritional and pharmaceutical properties. In cooking, fennel can be roasted or boiled in soups, offering the same benefits – antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anticancer, and so on.
A diet with the proper quantity of fennel could bring potential health benefits due to its valuable nutritional composition, including the presence of essential fatty acids. The root is also a good source of potassium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium.
In fennel both aromatic seed and fleshy root are used. Seeds are used mainly in herbal teas and the root and leaves are ingredients in Greek, French, and Italian cooking. Also, many pies traditionally use fennel, especially in Cretan ‘marathopites’.
Marathos root, carrots, potatoes, and some herbs, along with lemon juice, bring relief to your tired body before or after meat consumption! ‘Kales giortes’ – happy holidays!
* The above is not medical advice but mere suggestions for improving your diet. Before reach herbal use you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health issues, are pregnant or are under the age of 6.
Evropi-Sofia Dalampira holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics and an MSc in Botany-Biology.