What are fennel seeds?

Fennel seeds are the dried seed of the fennel herb, and look like cumin seeds, only greener. They have an aniseed flavour and a warm, sweet aroma. They can be used on their own or in spice mixes such as Chinese five-spice powder and Indian panch phoran.

When are fennel seeds in season?

All year round.

How to prepare fennel seeds

You'll get more flavour out of fennel seeds by grinding or toasting them. To grind, either crush in a pestle and mortar, put in a sealed food bag and bash with a rolling pin, or whizz to a powder in a clean coffee grinder. To toast, heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat and toast the seeds for a couple of minutes, tossing the pan frequently so they don't burn.

How to store fennel seeds

Keep in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. They will last for up to two years.

How to cook fennel seeds

Use to flavour fish, meat and vegetable dishes, as well as breads and chutneys. You can also chew the whole seeds to freshen your breath, and they're believed to aid digestion, too.

Alternatives to fennel seeds

Try dill or caraway seed.