The History of Licorice
Licorice dates back to the early times of man. Many pharaohs and prophets enjoyed licorice. Soldiers were recorded drinking licorice to quench their thirsts on long marches.
Licorice comes from a plant called the Glycyrrhiza, meaning ‘sweet root’ in Greek. During the Middle Ages, crusaders brought licorice to England.
Many years later, a monastery in Pontefract, England began producing licorice candy. Early settlers brought licorice recipes to America. Since then, America has produced and imported delicious licorice products.
How is Licorice Made?
There are two ways to produce licorice. Companies producing licorice on small production scales often use the corn starch molding process, while larger-scale production companies use the licorice rope extrusion process.
In the starch molding process a tray with long rows of molds is filled with corn starch to keep the licorice from sticking. Next, hot syrup containing licorice is poured into the molds and cooled. How the syrup is cooked determines if the candy is tough, chewy or soft. After the cooling process, the licorice is dumped onto a packaging table and given a glaze.
The licorice rope extrusion process starts with boiling a mix containing licorice root extract to an exact temperature. Next, flavorings and colorings are added and the mix is slowly cooked until it is a dough-like consistency. Afterward, it is placed in an extruder that resembles a meat processor. The mix is forced out of tiny holes making it into a rope. The rope is sometimes twisted to give a more interesting form.