Greek Herbs And Spices - Wild Fennel (Maratho)

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Image: Wikipedia Commons
Continuing our series of posts about Greek herbs and spices, let's take a look at wild fennel or maratho as it is called in Greek.

Fennel is used especially in Greek pies - pites - but is also used to flavour meat, seafood and vegetable dishes. It is similar in taste and aroma to anise, but is quite different. It is a perennial herb, with feathery leaves and quite similar in appearance to dill.


Origins: One version suggests that the ancient Greeks called the herb maratho from the Greek word maraino (grow thin). It was believed that maratho was conducive to strength, courage and a long life.

Another suggestion is that it was named maratho to commemorate the battle of Marathon (490 BC), which was fought against the Persians in a field of fennel. The word Marathon means 'place of fennel'.

In Greek mythology, the stalk of a fennel plant was used by Prometheus to steal fire from the gods and the Bacchanalian wands of the god Dionysus and his followers were said to have come from the giant fennel.



Some Examples of Greek Pies with Fennel

These are some examples of Greek Pies (Pites) which use fennel. Just click on the links to go to the recipes.





4 comments:

Jeanne said...

I love to both grow and cook with herbs!

Walk with Me said...

I never seen this type of herb in reality. Actually herbs remind me how my mother use it in curing some health condition.

tasteofbeirut said...

This herb covers many mountains and shores in Lebanon/ delicious in Greek food, less used in Lebanon except in tea/

Umihoney said...

Thank you for sharing the info. We have different kind of herbs here in the tropics.So this is great for info and knowledge on herbs from another part of the world.
I have seen other type of fennel though. I winder if I can use them to substitute for this fennel coz its hard to get this in my country ..next to impossible :)

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