Licorice is a culinary herb made from the sweet root of a bean plant in the pea family and it’s native to south-eastern Europe and the Middle East.
What does licorice taste like?
The taste of licorice is full-bodied sweetness with woody notes and anise flavor with a slightly salty and mildly bitter aftertaste, while the aroma is herbal and fennel-like.
Where does licorice come from?
Licorice or glycyrrhiza glabra is extracted from the root of the plant. Native to southern Europe and western Asia, the name translates from Greek to ‘sweet root’.
Licorice is best known for its use in confectionery, the sweet anise treats come in every color and range in shape from shoelaces, chews, straws, and twists.
Licorice root is a dried fresh root that can be steeped whole in liquids to impart flavor then removed before serving with dishes such as custards, teas, syrups, and sauces.
Licorice essence or powder is best included in sweets, drinks, curing, cakes, tarts, frosting, sorbet, and ice creams.
- Star anise: similar complexities of aniseed flavoring best for slow-cooked recipes.
- Licorice liquor: such as sambuca, aniseed flavor liquor which can substitute licorice essence.
- Anise/anise oil: similar complexities of aniseed flavoring suitable for slow-cooked recipes, liquids, and baking.
Licorice Compliments and Pairings
The sweet components of licorice match well with fruit as well as bolder meats and spices. Complimentary ingredients include blackcurrant, apple, blackberry, fennel, orange, rhubarb, raspberries, mint, juniper, ginger, chocolate, ice cream, fish, shellfish, game, pork, poultry.
Licorice Expiration and Storage
- Essence: store in the prepared bottle away from direct sunlight, moisture and heat, use within two years.
- Root: the dried root can be stored in cool, dry conditions away from direct light for up to four years.
- Powder: also known as jethimadh powder, store in an airtight container and use within six months.
Fun Facts About Licorice
- The licorice sweet originated in Holland in the 1600s.
- In Denmark and Norway, salted licorice is more popular than sweet licorice.
- Most licorice-flavored sweets are instead flavored with anise oil.
- Glycyrrhizin (the ingredient that makes licorice taste sweet) is 50 times sweeter than sugar!
Popular Licorice Recipes
- Licorice allsorts
- Black licorice chocolate brownies
- licorice panna cotta
- Orange licorice tea
- Salt licorice caramels
- Pickled eggs
- Blackcurrant and licorice swiss roll