I'm now going to attempt to address a question that plagues many of us with gnawing dread- "What the heck am I supposed to do with the fennel stem and fronds?!" We've all been there - we're in the kitchen, concocting some culinary deliciousness with loads and loads of fresh produce. And then as we peer down at our cutting board, we feel that familiar pang of millenial guilt. We notice heaps of organic material left behind. The rinds, stems, leaves, peels, etc. Yes, you could compost the refuse, OR you could turn the unwanted parts into something spectacular.
Two dear friends of mine (one of which happens to be the co-founder of Misfit Juicery, appropriately) urged me to do something creative with the fennel remains. I decided to try pickling the stems and fronds! For now it's experimental and I have no idea how it will taste. But I can't help but smile triumphantly knowing that I'm using food that some may label as garbage and am instead creating something fantastic. It's like I'm starring in my own mini Chopped challenge, and I haven't been chopped. The pickled fennel is currently in my fridge, doing it's thing.
I'd love to hear from you! Comment at the bottom or send me a message with ways that you've used unwanted produce parts in your kitchen.
Here's my recipe for pickled fennel stem and fronds:
2 tbs. fennel seed
2 tbs. black mustard seed
2 tbs. black pepper corn
1 tbs. crushed red pepper
1 cup of water
1/4 cup of salt
1 cup of white vinegar
Sterilize your jar. Add the spice blend. Chop your fennel stems (including the fronds) along the height of your jar. Pack your jar tightly with the stems. Meanwhile, slow boil the water, salt and vinegar. When the salt is absorbed, the mixture is done. Pour the brine into your pickle jar all the way to the brim. Tap the jar lightly to get rid of air bubbles. Cap and close the lid tightly. Place mixture in the fridge for at least two weeks.