Believe it or not India is the largest producer of Fennel in the whole world !
As a young kid growing up in Colaba and Fort, my access to fresh fruits off the trees was limited. Like our parents we did not have trees to climb and pluck fruit to sink our teeth into the juicy flesh neither did we walk through roads lined with field were we could barge in and pick up fresh munchies like a frond of fennel. Our hope was the bhaiya who sold little slices of fruit spiced with a dash of chili powder and salt. My introduction to fennel was there at his little round display propped on a wicker stand.
Fennel was loved by one and all lush green and sweet to taste. Fennel in Marathi is badishep. I decided to grow some in my green Balcony. BTW just wanted to mention the balcony is undergoing some major changes and will come back in a new avatar.
Get ready with you pots to plant Badishep along with me. For the seed reach out in your pantry, go no further.
- I use a big planter plate, 12 inches to grown Badishep.
- Ensure there is a small hole in the bottom of the pot for draining excess water.
- Fill up to the brim with planting soil upto 5 inches.
- Sprinkle the seed over the planting media.
- Sprinkle water to moisten the soil. Do this every day.
- Cover thinly with dry leaves/ saw dust / or a wet muslin cloth to protect from birds picking the sprouts.
- Ensure enough sunlight, but not direct.
- In about 2 weeks you will get about 10 inch grassy growth.
- At this point you can move the plants into deeper pot of about 5-6 litre capacity.
- Keep the soil moist but not wet and choose a really sunny spot for it. In a month and a half you will see it flowering.
- The yellow flowers on the radial frond grow into sweet Badishep/ fennel.
- Let them mature a bit to get large seeds.
Pluck the fronds of Badishep to harvest and enjoy the sweetness. The young leaves can be used to make parathas or as a herb in your pasta. The leaves are very mild in flavor.
As mouth fresher
As a spice
As a natural appetite suppressant