6 bulbs fennel, in 1/4 inch slices
6 bay leaves
4 1/2 cups water
4 cups white vinegar
1/3 cup pickling salt
1/4 cup minced fennel frond
6 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons black peppercorns
3 teaspoons fennel seed
3 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed
Bring the water, vinegar and salt to a boil. Prep the lids/jars. Evenly divide all of the spices, peppers and garlic between 6 wide mouth pint jars. Add the fennel, leaving 1/4 inch headroom.
Pour in the vinegar mixture. Close the jars and process for 10 minutes in a hot water bath. Allow to sit 1 week before eating.
When the nice people at Ocean Mist Farms offered to send me some fennel, I was pretty excited. It has been getting easier to buy fennel in recent years but sometimes it looks a little dodgy at the store. Not this fennel! It was blemish free and crisp. Unfortunately, I was headed to New Orleans for a few days and there was no way I would be able to use it all up before I went. So, I decided to pickle it. I am glad I did, it has a strong fennel-anise flavor and the fennel stayed remarkably crisp and sweet. Wonderful on a sandwich or salad. It was also delightful on grilled salmon.