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Fresh fennel is a bulb-shaped vegetable that is wonderful in raw salads and salsas and added to soups, stir-fries and main dishes. You can certainly use the seeds to provide the flavor of fennel but you will likely want to replace the bulb with another bulky vegetable such as celery or zucchini slices.
Both fennel and anise have a similar, licorice-like flavor and aroma and can therefore be used interchangeably. Remember the flavor of fennel is not quite as strong as anise, so you may want to use a bit more. If your recipe calls for ground anise, be sure to use ground fennel instead of the whole seed.