Sunday, July 3, 2011

Licorice, love it or hate it

The word licorice immediately brings to mind black chewy candy. The flavor is one of a kind. But, is it really? That flavor we call licorice can also be associated with anise, star anise, fennel and coriander. When you describe any of the above flavors you usually say “it taste like licorice.” Let's break all the this down, one herb at a time.

Licorice is a very powerful plant. The root of the plant, Glycyrrhiza glabra, is extracted and used for many medicinal uses, such as calming coughs and relieving constipation. Excessive consumption can be toxic to the liver and cardiovascular systems. The word licorice means sweet root. Anise, fennel and coriander are all herbs which are part of Apiaceae family. Apiaceaes are aromatic plants with hollow stems. Star anise are the seeds from a evergreen tree, Illicium Verum, grown in Asia. They all have very similar flavors which we refer as “licorice like”.

I personally love all things with a licorice flavor. But, I have come to find out that most people either love it or hate it. Why? Why do people shun fish or lima beans? Well, lima beans are just bland, that's why. Now, fish needs to be fresh. People with aversions to fish have probably eaten not so fresh fish. All things licorice flavor are sweet, delicate and sometimes black or red (in the case of licorice candy). So, what's not to like? Maybe they had stale licorice when they where kids and they have block all licorice tasting foods from their tastebuds. Ahh, what a shame!

July 2 is Anisette Day

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