Fennel (Anise) is one of those vegetables which until the late 1800s were avoided by non-Jews in Italy and considered lowly and vulgar. By the time this delicious vegetable was accepted into general Italian cuisine, Jews had already discovered countless ways to prepare it, raw or cooked, as an appetizer or side. Fennel is said to be a digestive and detoxifier.
Besides eating the bulb, we use the seeds to flavor meats and sausages, and the fronds/leaves for tea and soups. Fennel tea is even said to increase milk production in nursing mothers!