Fennel nights

When it gets dark at 5 it’s easy to get bored. You read books, you read blogs, you make a pie. Then what? Sometimes we’ll go to a movie because it’s so cold in our apartment, or we’ll go dumpster diving for the animals (exercise=warmth). The other night I baked a squash and processed my dried fennel pollen.
In July I picked bunches of fennel in the yellow pollen stage. There were so many bees in the fennel field across the street from our house, I felt a little bad taking my share. We filled two giant shopping bags of the stuff, and hung it in our laundry room. Five months later I finally have time to process it! For about two hours I plucked the dried yellow pollen off the fennel umbels. The dust made me sneeze, but it’s well worth it. Fennel pollen makes meat taste really really good. I put it in rabbit dishes–and when we made salami, that was an important ingredient in the finnochio salami. I think it would make a good dry rub for beef and a secret ingredient in roast vegetables.
I was left with a bucket of spent dried fennel branches and a small pint jar of pollen. The spent fennel went to the rabbits, who are always eager for an herby snack–they loved it!

5 responses to “Fennel nights

  1. duane marcus <a href="http://www.facebook.com/people/Duane_Marcus/541048543">Facebook me!</a>

    What kind of animals do you find in those dumpsters?

  2. Novella Carpenter

    duane; you wouldn’t believe the gold mine–how do you think i got my current flock, herd, and colony?

  3. Could you let me in on your secret to salami? I found some info on how to change a freezer into a salami incubator/dryer. But, I was wanting to get some more info.

    I absolutely love salami with finocchio. I would always get the sticks of it at the Napa Valley Oil Olive Company in St. Helena.

  4. Novella Carpenter

    hey kevin;
    well, my secret i confess was i found a chef who knows how to make salami, has a curing room, and a cold walk in. do you know anyone? ask and you might be surprised.
    barring that, i tried the old freezer method to cure some duck proscuitto. it tasted okay, but i wondered if it had a faint taste of old fridge.
    i used nitrates/pink salt. painted the salamis with penicillin, too. and you need something like 3% salt and a third pure back fat. big cow middle bungs. a stuffer. it’s very elaborate. i think if you try something more simple like saucisson sec, that would work better in the modified ice closet.

  5. Thanks for the info Novella. And, you just made me hungry mentioning saucisson sec. My wife is French and I “discovered” those delicacies when visiting her family a couple of years ago.

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