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Great Stuff!

There's loads of great stuff out there to enhance your physical and spiritual health. Every two weeks, All Spirit Fitness brings you something we've found useful. Sometimes it's a brand new fitness tool, sometimes it's an everyday item that you can find at the store. Whatever it is, rest assured that if it's on this page, we think it's great!

Fennel Bulbs

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Fennel is more than just a spice — it's a yummy but highly underused veggie. While many people haven't yet discovered fennel's crunchy, celery-like texture and tasty, mildly anise-like flavor, its value hasn't gone unacknowledged. It has been named Vegetable of the Month for August by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are several good reasons fennel has received this recognition: it's high in Vitamin C and fiber and included in its long list of phytonutrients is anethole, which studies have shown to be a cancer preventative.

If you're only familiar with fennel from its appearance in seed form on the spice rack or in your favorite Italian or Mediterranean dishes, it's time for you to discover the plant. You can use the fennel bulb anywhere you'd use celery... you'll get a similar texture, but an all-new personality. Fennel can add spice and crunch to your salads, and it's delicious in soups and with fish, especially salmon and tuna. It can be sautéed in stock with onion, garlic and a splash of olive oil. When you're barbecuing, try adding the fennel stalk and leaves to the coals to add flavor to the meats — it's a French tradition. Once you've gotten an idea of how fennel enhances your food, you'll find all sorts of ways to add it to your recipes.

When shopping for fennel, choose bulbs that are white or very pale green. They should be firm and clean, without bruises or splitting, and the green stalks should hug together nicely. If the fennel is flowering, pass it by, as it's past maturity. Take a whiff to make sure that the anise or licorice scent is present. Once you bring it home, fennel is best used right away. It starts to lose its flavor after a few days. While you can blanch and freeze it, this too will diminish its flavor. So plan on having your fennel right away — you'll be glad you did!

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