Fennel bulbs on a market stall.
The Foolproof Guide To Shopping For Fennel Like A Veggie Pro
By Allie Sivak
To get the most out of fennel, look for a firm, bright white bulb with stalks and fronds (the feathery green leaves) that are vibrant in color, firm, and intact.
Fennel is sometimes sold without the stalks and fronds. However, you should buy one with the leafy stalks attached, as they keep the bulbs from drying out and have culinary uses.
When buying fennel at the farmers market or grocery store, select one that is free of bruises or blemishes, with stalks that are at least three inches tall.
Avoid fennel bulbs and stalks that are pale in color, rubbery, or limp. Although most recipes remove the outer layers from the bulb, you won't need to waste them if they're firm.
Upon bringing your fennel home, remove the stalks and fronds from the bulb with a knife and store them in airtight containers or bags in the fridge for up to a week.
When prepared raw, shaved fennel will elevate a salad or slaw, or you can slice it for cooking and grilling. The fibrous stalks can also impart flavor to stocks, soups, and stews.