Eat fennel raw: the most important information about consumption

Fenchel roh essen: Die wichtigsten Infos zum Verzehr

It is mainly known in the form of tea or as a medicine: fennel. But it can not only be used as a remedy for colds and stomach cramps, but also in everyday life to satisfy hunger. Commonly used in the Mediterranean, this vegetable is striking for its unique shape and special flavor and therefore raises a number of questions.

The fennel combines many minerals and vitamins in one vegetable. In this article, we want to explain to you why it is not only possible, but also sensible to eat fennel raw.

the essentials in brief

  • Fennel can be used for various purposes. As a tea, it can help against gastrointestinal problems, but you can also add it to a soup or vegetable dish.
  • Unlike cooked fennel, raw fennel provides the full amount of important ingredients such as vitamin C or iron. The ingredients can be consumed raw in the form of juices or in salads. They are particularly important for (pregnant) women and can even help dogs with digestion.
  • In order to get the best quality, freshness should be considered when purchasing fennel. If fennel isn't on sale, there are other options that are just as good as raw fennel and make a healthy change.

Eating fennel raw: What you should know

With so many different foods, it's easy to lose track: Can I eat the bowl? do i have to cook it How do I know if the product is still good? Fennel is one of those mysterious vegetables that you have to deal with first.

Since fennel often benefits a tasty dish, it's handy to know what's actually in fennel. We answer the most important questions about raw fennel and show you how (not) dangerous it is.

Can you eat fennel raw?

Yes you can. It is even very healthy to eat fennel raw, as it retains many valuable substances in its raw state. Since fennel can be prepared in many different ways, this diversity also means a reduction in important vitamins. When cooking, roasting or baking, the amount of e.g. B. Vitamin C from (1). Apart from vitamin C, fennel also contains other vitamins such as vitamins A, K and E, which are important for strengthening our immune system and protecting our cells.


When it comes to ingredients, fennel is a frontrunner among vegetables. It tastes best when it's organic and from the region.

Fennel is also a good source of minerals. Since fennel contains a lot of calcium, potassium and magnesium , eating fennel can strengthen our bones and teeth. In addition, vegetarians or vegans can use fennel instead of meat because of its high iron content. However, when buying, you should make sure that the fennel is organic to be sure that no pesticides have been used.

What kind of fennel can be eaten?

In principle, everything from the fennel can be eaten: both the white and the green fennel as well as the seeds and stalks. We show you which components are used for what.

component use
tuber The white tuber can be boiled, roasted, cooked or eaten raw.
fennel leaves The leaves are used for seasoning. They can be served well with fish to give the fish a special accent.
seed These can be used as a condiment for baked goods or as an ingredient in sauces. They are also good for a healthy fennel tea, whose essential oils are anti-inflammatory and digestive (2).
stems The green stems are good for stews and vegetable broths.

Since the stalk and roots are often removed during cooking, one wonders whether these are poisonous. The answer is no. Sand and soil often accumulate at the roots, which makes it easier to cut them off. The stalk and stalks of the fennel can also be eaten raw, but they are particularly hard and are therefore better cooked. Although some ingredients are lost, the taste remains the same and consumption is easier.

What Ways Can You Eat Fennel Raw?

Before consuming any kind of fennel, you should first wash it thoroughly and cut away any brown spots. Then you dry the fennel and separate the stalks and the fennel leaves from the bulb. Now you can use the provided fennel for different dishes. The stems and leaves that are not used can be made into a soup.

Snack: The fennel can be eaten as a snack between meals. All you have to do is cut the tuber in half or quarters and remove the stalk. Now you can cut the fennel into thin strips and enjoy with a dip.

Salad: The most popular variant is the fennel salad. It is best served with apples and nuts to give the salad a sweet note. It also tastes good with oranges and olives. The light dressing can be prepared with vinegar and olive oil.

Juice: Fennel is often processed into juice to make it easier to eat. So it can give you energy without much effort and strengthen you for the day.

Smoothie: If the taste of the fennel is too intense, you can prepare a smoothie. Fruits such as apples or mangoes are suitable for this, to which honey, orange or lemon juice can be added.


Can dogs eat raw fennel?

Raw fennel is also healthy for dogs. Fennel provides dogs with numerous vitamins and helps them with digestive problems.

For dogs, fennel can be used as a healthy side dish to give them variety.

Raw fennel is particularly popular with dogs that bark. With this feeding method, the dogs only eat natural food, i.e. mainly raw meals. It promotes growth in puppies and helps dogs with weight problems. Fennel can also be easily mixed with food as a porridge.

Can you eat raw fennel when pregnant?

Pregnant women often need more iron because a lot of blood has to be produced for the child. Iron deficiency leads to fatigue and irritability and should therefore be avoided. Fennel is a good vegetable for this. Anethole essential oil aids in digestion and relieves gas. Fennel tea can also help against morning sickness. Sometimes fennel is even used to boost milk production (4).

Pregnant woman

During pregnancy, fennel serves as an iron supplier and can help against nausea.

However, you should be careful with the essential oil anethole. There is a concentrated amount in fennel syrup or fennel honey that could lead to premature stimulation of the uterus. Therefore, these products should rather be avoided. On the other hand, fennel oil helps women with premenstrual syndrome or during menopause (5).

Should I eat fennel raw or rather cooked?

You should be clear about the purpose of the fennel. If you want to prepare a balanced dinner, use the fennel as an ingredient in a casserole or as a side dish. It is best boiled, fried or baked.

If you're feeling a little hungry, grab raw fennel, which serves as a healthy snack and gives you an energy boost. In the table below we show you the pros and cons of consuming raw versus cooked or fried fennel.

When is raw fennel no longer edible?

Raw fennel does not keep for long. It can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks, preferably wrapped in a damp cloth. Otherwise it will become hard and dry. Unrefrigerated, it can only be kept for a few days. You can tell if fennel is bad by the leaves that are limp and by the stems and bulb that are no longer firm. If the fennel has bruises or dark discoloration, it should not be bought either.

Fennel can also be frozen. It is advisable to blanch it beforehand, i.e. to scald it briefly with hot water in order to retain the aroma. Then you can put it in a freezer bag and store it airtight.

What are the effects of raw fennel on the body?

Fennel is considered a medicinal plant that can be extremely helpful for flatulence, digestive problems and gastrointestinal complaints and has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic effects (6). There are two main types of fennel: bitter and sweet fennel. The following table shows the effects and uses of the two varieties.

fennel variety Effect
Bitter fennel He smells strongly spicy and tastes like that. It is mainly used for medical purposes: it loosens the mucus in the bronchi and thus helps with respiratory diseases.
sweet fennel It smells pleasantly spicy and contains more trans-anethole (7), which is why it also has an expectorant effect on the lungs. It has less fenchone, which leads to the sweet taste, as fenchone tastes bitter.

What alternatives are there to raw fennel?

If you don't have any more fennel at home or just feel like trying something different, you're happy to look for alternatives. Just because raw fennel goes away in a day doesn't mean its properties can't be found in other foods.

The following list will help you substitute raw fennel or use fennel to multiply your meals. Depending on which nutrients you need or what you value in your diet, different foods come into question:

  • anise
  • legumes
  • Celery & Kohlrabi
  • Cauliflower
  • spinach


The taste of fennel compares well with the taste of aniseed. This is due to the essential oils contained in fennel. The intensive taste of fennel can therefore easily be exchanged for aniseed in a dish. A special blend is made up of fennel and aniseed. It is best to mix in cumin and the result is e.g. B. a delicious tea, which also helps extremely well against flatulence and abdominal cramps.


For people watching their iron levels but not interested in meat products, good alternatives can also be found in vegetables. Legumes such as lentils, beans and peas can be used for a balanced dinner. They are good as a side dish or ingredient in a casserole or salad. The iron content is even higher than raw fennel. In addition, legumes provide a good amount of vitamin K, which plays an important role in blood clotting.

Celery & Kohlrabi

Especially with vegetable dishes, many different types of vegetables are used to increase the variety of the dish. If you run out of fennel, other crunchy veggies can fill your veggie casserole, for example.

Good alternatives are celery and kohlrabi. Of course, they can also be served raw with a dip as a snack. Kohlrabi and celery are particularly suitable for cooks who do not like the taste of fennel. They also contain a lot of potassium, a mineral that ensures the balance within the cells.


Citrus fruits are best known for their high vitamin C content. What many people don't know, however, is that some vegetables contain double the amount of vitamin C. One of these vegetables is fennel, with Brussels sprouts even surpassing the value of fennel.

Orange juice doesn't have to be drunk every morning. Brussels sprouts can be used to add variety to the diet without losing vitamins. Brussels sprouts can be prepared quickly with potatoes or the like and are therefore a quick alternative to fennel.


Drinks can also be swapped out for healthy alternatives. Instead of the fennel, you can add spinach to your smoothie. If you don't like spinach, don't worry. The taste can simply be masked with fruits such as bananas, mangoes or strawberries without sacrificing the important ingredients.

Just like fennel, spinach is high in vitamin E and calcium (8), which are important for cell protection and heart and lung activity.


Fennel can easily be eaten raw in a number of ways. As a healthy snack or in a salad, fennel is not only delicious, but also provides many important ingredients. Aside from the vitamins and minerals found in fennel, raw fennel also helps with digestive issues and bloating.

When shopping, make sure to choose fresh fennel to ensure the best quality. If you want to eat healthier, you should definitely integrate fennel into your diet plan. It is not only suitable for cooks, but also for pregnant women, children and even dogs, which is why the variety of fennel is indispensable. If you don't have fennel on hand, there are many alternatives that can be used.

Individual proofs(8)

  1. Lee S, Choi Y, Jeong HS, Lee J, Sung J. Effect of different cooking methods on the content of vitamins and true retention in selected vegetables. Food Science Biotechnology. 2017;27(2):333-342. Published 2017 Dec 12. doi:10.1007/s10068-017-0281-1
  2. Al-Okbi SY, Hussein AMS, Elbakry HFH, Fouda KA, Mahmoud KF, Hassan ME. Health Benefits of Fennel, Rosemary Volatile Oils and their Nano-Forms in Dyslipidemic Rat Model. Pak J Biol Sci. 2018 Jan;21(7):348-358. doi: 10.3923/pjbs.2018.348.358. PMID: 30417995.
  3. Bae J, Kim J, Choue R, Lim H. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) and Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) Tea Drinking Suppresses Subjective Short-term Appetite in Overweight Women. Clin Nutr Res. 2015;4(3):168-174. doi:10.7762/cnr.2015.4.3.168
  4. Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2006–. fennel. 2020 Nov 16. PMID: 30000852.
  5. Mahboubi M. Foeniculum vulgare as Valuable Plant in Management of Women's Health. J Menopausal Med. 2019;25(1):1-14. doi:10.6118/jmm.2019.25.1.1
  6. Badgujar SB, Patel VV, Bandivdekar AH. Foeniculum vulgare Mill: a review of its botany, phytochemistry, pharmacology, contemporary application, and toxicology. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:842674. doi: 10.1155/2014/842674. Epub 2014 Aug 3. PMID: 25162032; PMCID: PMC4137549.
  7. Kerekes D, Csorba A, Gosztola B, Németh-Zámbori É, Kiss T, Csupor D. Furocoumarin Content of Fennel-Below the Safety Threshold. Molecules. 2019;24(15):2844. Published 2019 Aug 5. doi:10.3390/molecules24152844
  8. El Sayed SM. Use of spinach powder as functional ingredient in the manufacture of UF-Soft cheese. helioon. 2020;6(1):e03278. Published 2020 Jan 21. doi:10.1016/j.heliyon.2020.e03278
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