In addition to all of the wonderful herbs ready in Penelope’s Garden (find complete list here), the bronze fennel is set to harvest. The following information on its many benefits and harvesting the plant is taken from

Health Benefits of Fennel:

“Much of the research that has validated fennel’s health benefits has been done with fennel seeds, which are rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory effects. Fennel seeds have long been used to reduce intestinal gas, which is why many cooks add a few fennel seeds to the cooking water when cooking asparagus, cabbage, beans, and other gas-producing foods. When taken as a nutritional supplement, fennel capsules can reduce common symptoms of menopause.”

How to Harvest Fennel Pollen:

“Fennel pollen has been a trendy spice among chefs since before 2011, though Italian cooks have used it as a dry spice for hundreds of years. Boasting the complex citrusy-licorice flavor of fennel in concentrated form, fennel pollen includes the pollen and dried petals that fall from fennel blossoms as they dry. To harvest fennel pollen, snip several heads of blooming fennel into a clean paper bag, and place in a warm, dry place for at least a week. Give the bag a good shake, and gather the pollen and petals that accumulate in the bottom of the bag. When stored in an airtight jar in a cool, dry place, fennel pollen will store for several months.”

How to Harvest Fennel Seeds:

“Harvest fennel seeds when the flower heads turn brown and no later, or the seeds may fall. Snip the stems below the dry flowers, and place the flowers on a tray in a warm, dry place to finish drying out before storing them in an airtight container.”
“You will want to leave some flowers behind to produce seeds for cooking, and the flowers will provide nectar for many beneficial insects.”
Courtesy of Tina Alexander