Fennel’s name comes from the Latin foeniculum, meaning “little hay”. The Roman historian Pliny recorded that when snakes shed their skins, they ate fennel to restore their sight (although he did not record how he made this observation). Several liquors are flavored with fennel, including aquavit, gin, absinthe and fennouillete.
All the above-ground parts of the fennel plant are edible. Fennel “seeds” are actually whole fruits, the most aromatic seeds found in the center of the seed head. In seed, a bright green color indicates quality. The herb should be stored in a tightly closed container in a cool, dry place.