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Thursday, April 12, 2012

April 12 is National Licorice Day. For thousands of years, it's been used in food and as a medicine. As a complimentary medicine, it's used to treat the common cold, as well as stomach ulcers. Too much licorice can be toxic to the liver or cause high blood pressure.

Most people are familiar with licorice as a candy. Licorice tea is also popular, and its root contains a compound that's almost fifty times sweeter than sugar. The licorice extract used in flavoring is produced by boiling the plant's long fibrous woody root system and evaporating most of the water, and using what is left in a syrup form.

In the United States, it's the candy such as Twizzlers, Red Vines, Good & Plenty, Black Licorice Pipes, Laces, Wheels, and Allsorts that are in the mainstream. In Europe, licorice can range from sweet, lightly salty, medium salty, to double salty, and can be soft and chewy to hard and brittle. Pontefract Cakes, Kokindjes, Schoolkrijt, and Zoute Knoopjes are just a few of the popular varieties. The Dutch have the highest per capita consumption of licorice in the world at almost 4 1/2 pounds per person per year. Some of their stores are devoted just to licorice. They probably don't need to have a National Licorice Day to promote the stuff; every day is Licorice Day for them.

by: Woodstock Candy


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