Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Pickled Roasted Fennel

Fennel is  a very aromatic and versatile vegetable, with a slight aniseed or licorice flavour, lending itself to steaming, grilling, braising, baking, roasting, eating raw, and pickling, just to mention a plethora of culinary uses. In other words it is extremely versatile and also very healthy, a key ingredient to Mediterranean cuisine. The fronds of the fennel are similar to dill, and make a great garnish.

However if you enjoy pickles, chutneys and relishes I know that you will love this recipe for Pickled Roasted Fennel. The flavours are magic, enhanced by roasting the fennel,  and the pickle can be served as an accompaniment to most meals. Believe me, it will be a wonderful standby to have in your refrigerator to add some excitement to any meal you serve, regardless of how simple it may be.  It is surprisingly easy to prepare as well. I use the whole fennel bulb, and although the stalks are a bit tough after roasting, they can be chopped up after baking and put into other dishes such as soups, stews and mince dishes for extra flavour. Just the crunchy bulb and a few of the fronds are best for the pickling process.

After the pickling is finished, I patiently leave mine in the refrigerator for a week or two  before opening to let the flavours really develop.

Unfortunately fennel is a vegetable that is difficult to grow here in the Tropics as just like dill, it develops a kind of white powdery mildew during the warmer weather. However the Baby Fennels are abundant in the supermarkets at present so I am taking advantage of it. I envy you if you live in cooler climates and can grow this amazing vegetable throughout the year. If I can grow some dill and fennel in our garden and harvest it before the warm weather in September begins, I am very happy.


2 small fennel bulbs, about 500g (1lb 2oz) in total (stalks removed)
1 onion
80 ml (1/2 cup) olive oil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon salt
300 ml (10 1/2 fl oz) white wine vinegar
150 ml (5 fl oz) water
110 g (3 3/4 oz) or 1/2 cup caster sugar
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 bay leaves

Let's Pickle:

Preheat the oven to 160 deg C. fan forced or 180 deg. C normal (350 deg.F).
Slice the fennel.  Slice the onion thinly.
Put the vegetables into a baking dish large enough for an even layer of your vegetables.
Drizzle the oil over the vegetables, sprinkle with the fennel seeds and salt, and mix all together with clean hands.
Roast for 30-45 minutes, or until the fennel is soft and just starting to brown around the edges. You will need to keep an eye on it depending on the heat of your oven.

Making the brine:

(Next time I will be doubling the recipe as more is best, and this also makes a great gift)
The recipe makes two large sized bottles of pickle.

Make your brine by combining the vinegar, water and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Place over a low heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Increase the heat and bring the solution to the boil. Remove from the stove.

When the jars are cool enough to handle, put 1 garlic clove, a few peppercorns and 1 bay leaf into the bottom of each jar. Select a pair of small clean tongs to carefully pack the roasted vegetables into the jars.

Cover with the hot brine, making sure the vegetables are completely submerged.

Gently tap each jar to remove any air bubbles on your work surface. Also slide a clean butter knife or even a chopstick around the inside to release any hidden air pockets. When the jars are filled with the vegetables and brine, clean the rims of the jars with paper towelling. and seal immediately.

Leave the jars to cool on the bench top on a cutting board.  Leaving the jars for a week in the refrigerator before opening will improve the flavour.

Once opened, refrigerate and use within 3 months. I keep mine in the refrigerator to be on the safe side.

The Bees live on

Buzzzz. By the way, our bees remain very happy and contented in their temporary bird box residence and are working hard. Mr. HRK moved them again on Sunday at dusk. The "bird box hive" is sitting on the new hive which will be their permanent home. They are now facing the same direction as the new hives. When it comes to the actual relocation into their new hive, they will endure some upheaval, so it is important that they are as settled as possible until then. When there is a clear weather forecast for Mackay, a bee expert will come here to help us move the bees, find the Queen bee and make an assessment of what else needs to be done. More about that story in a later post.
p.s. I am also collecting honey recipes as hopefully there will be lots of honey.

Thanks for dropping by,



  1. Lovely recipe, as we love fennel. Funny, we also have difficulty growing dill and fennel way up here. Most of the dill we consume is grown in greenhouses. If you plant the seed, it'll bolt due to our long summer days. Fennel, not much luck, but as with you we're getting small baby fennel bulbs from Spain (I think) just now. This sounds so good I've got to pickle some roasted fennel soon.

    1. That's interesting Ron, I thought you would be able to grow it so easily, but then I suppose it is a Mediterranean vegetable after all, hence Spain. Thanks for your great comment, Pauline

  2. oh yes fennel is an amazing veg. i know what you mean about not being able to grow things. i tried to grow basil etc but it just bolts. love all your bee stories. how absolutely thrilling to have them.. cheers S

  3. Thanks Sherry, I think the bees will get really interesting soon when we move them into their permanent hive. Best wishes, Pauline.

  4. Pauline, I have had fennel growing 'down the back' for many years and have never done anything with it. I can see I will just have to be more adventurous like you are :-)

    1. Gosh I envy you being able to grow it so easily Chel. It is so delicious in so many ways. It would make a great gift. Thanks, Pauline

  5. I love pickles. I've never had pickled fennel though. I'll remember to buy fennel next time I see it. I'd like to try this recipe.

  6. I just know you will love it Nil, it's a different flavour to a lot of other pickles, but in a good way:) Thanks, Pauline

  7. Ooh I've never thought to pickle fennel before! What a great idea :D

    1. It is a delicious vegetable to pickle. Thanks for your comment D.

  8. I'll remember to buy fennel next time I see it. I'd like to try this recipe
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