Fennel is a diverse herb that is used around the world. Most recipes with fennel, like our Shaved Fennel, Roasted Tomato, and Pistachio Salad from yesterday, focus on the crunchy bulb, leaving us in a lurch when it comes to the leftover stalks and fronds. Here are some tips on how to harvest fennel seeds so you don’t miss out on this delicious part of this amazing herb. Fennel can be grown from seed or set out as transplants as soon as danger of frost has passed. Cook fennel as little as possible in order to preserve the flavor. It is recommended to harvest no more than one third of the plant at a time to keep it from being damaged. Fennel will be crisper for serving raw if you soak it in iced water for 30 minutes before serving. Bronze fennel – A pretty ornamental variety that’s grown for its fronds and seeds. Harvest and dry seeds as the flower heads fade. Use fennel raw or cooked after removing the tough outer leaves. Fennel leaves can be harvested as soon as the plant is well established. Cantino fennel – Slow to go to seed. Sweet fennel can be harvested at pretty much any stage of growth. I think it's a beautiful plant. Only take a few leaves at a time to not cause harm to the plant. The best time to harvest Fennel is in the early morning, when the plant is freshest. Fennel can be served raw in wedges or sticks finely sliced in salads. Fennel tops are tasty too! The bulb is ready for harvest once it reaches the size of a tennis ball. Florence fennel – This is the fennel you want if you’re interested in harvesting a meaty bulb for cooking. In areas where summers are long and hot, seed should be started indoors and plants put out as soon as possible in order for the bulb to have time to form before hot weather sets in. How to Harvest Fennel: Fennel flowers all summer---these large yellow umbrels of flowers. Harvest fennel leaves, shoots, seeds and bulbs by cutting the stems with pruning shears, and digging up the bulbs. They work great in salads, breads and can even be crushed and steeped into fennel tea. Try grilling or sauteing the bulb and add dried fennel leaves to your salads, stews and fish dishes. Rhondo fennel – A bulb-type fennel that produces a round bulb and matures early. Fennel is a versatile herb -- all parts of the plant are edible, including the bulb, seeds and leaves. Fennel can be cut back early in the season to encourage bushier growth and should be deadheaded for seed harvest and to prevent over seeding of new plants. It has tiny delicate fronds (somewhat like Dill) as well as leaves and a more woody stalk that holds the plant upright. No sense in letting these greens go to waste. There’s only one restriction on how to grow fennel: don’t plant it near dill. Harvesting The Fennel Plant. Every part of the fennel plant can be eaten, but the seeds are particularly good. The stems, leaves, flowers, pollen, and seeds are all edible and delicious. To harvest the bulb, cut the fronds from the base of the bulb. It contains vitamin C, iron, calcium and folate, according to Farm Spot. Florence Fennel Serving Suggestions. To harvest: Fennel is ready to harvest after approximately 90 days.