- Net Weight 1 oz
Culinary fairy dust.
Teeny tiny golden pollen is plucked by hand from our organically grown, lovingly tended fennel plants as they begin to bloom. Brought to California by Italian immigrants, fennel loves our coastal climate, growing dense and tall and simply bursting with blossoms. Similar to the harvest of saffron threads, the process of gathering just the pollen-dense tips of the yellow flowers is a painstaking one, and the reason for the comparable price! At Kandarian Organic Farms, our organic fennel and dill flower heads are snipped by hand at the peak of blossoming, one by one, then dried in the California sunshine. Once dry, the tiny yellow tips are rubbed off, then screened to remove lingering stems or buds that are not rich with pollen. We are confident that ours is the purest, most carefully collected pollen on the market today.
A note about color. Fennel pollen should not be green or contain thick or woody stems. As you shop for pollen, take careful note of the color. Green fennel pollen, for example, indicates the presence of fennel herb mixed in with the pollen. Fennel herb, although lovely, is not what you are paying for! High quality fennel pollen should be sandy golden in color, with visible pollen granules making up the bulk of the texture.
What does it taste like? Like nothing else. Intensely aromatic, it takes the licorice zing of fennel seed, the scent of anise, and adds sweet honey, floral, and citrus notes. Bright and crisp, it has a subtlety of taste and complexity of flavor unlike many single ingredient spices.
How do you use this tasty stuff? A special and rare secret ingredient, fennel pollen is surprisingly easy to use, sweet or savory. It complements chicken, fish, potatoes, pastas, and grains. Many Tuscan pork recipes feature this special spice, well known in northern Italy, where fennel thrives. Don’t overdo it - a little goes a long way. A finishing spice, which means it is best added at the end of cooking to preserve its flavor.That said, it makes an excellent rub, especially when blended with coarse sea salt and black pepper.
Jonathan Waxman, chef and owner of Barbuto in New York, believes fennel pollen has the rare power to “transform sweets from ordinary to exceptional.” It pairs well with dishes containing oatmeal, cinnamon, orange, lemon and chocolate. Try oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with a tablespoon of fennel pollen mixed right into the dough. Sprinkle cinnamon buns with a dusting of fennel pollen before they enter the oven. Chef Waxman mixes it into a streusel that he puts on everything from blueberry crisp to coffee cake.