How is Liquorice Made?

Liquorice makers use simple ingredients but blend them in a way to create a complex and delightful confection. From its humble beginnings as a root, to its transformation into the beloved candy we know and love, the process of making liquorice is both fascinating and delicious.

It all begins with the liquorice plant, Glycyrrhiza glabra, whose roots contain the sweet compounds that give liquorice its distinctive flavour.  These roots are harvested from mature liquorice plants, typically grown in regions with warm climates and well-drained soil.

Once harvested, the liquorice roots undergo a process of cleaning and peeling to remove any dirt or impurities. This is followed by slicing the roots into smaller pieces to facilitate the extraction of the sweet compounds.

The next step is extraction, where the sliced liquorice roots are boiled in water to release their flavour and sweetness. This creates a thick, syrupy liquid known as liquorice extract, which forms the foundation of all liquorice-based products.

Depending on the desired end product, the liquorice extract may undergo further processing and refinement. For traditional liquorice confectionery, the extract is combined with additional ingredients such as sugar, starch, and flavourings to create a pliable dough-like mixture.

This mixture is then rolled out and cut into various shapes and sizes, ranging from classic twists and ropes to fun shapes like animals or letters. The liquorice pieces are then left to cool and harden before being packaged and distributed to eager consumers.

In addition to traditional confectionery, liquorice is also used to flavour a wide range of products, including beverages, baked goods, and even savoury dishes. In these applications, liquorice extract or powder is added to the recipe to impart its distinctive flavour and aroma.

While the basic process of making liquorice remains largely the same, there are countless variations and techniques employed by manufacturers to create unique and innovative products. From traditional recipes passed down through generations to modern innovations in flavour and texture, the world of liquorice is as diverse and dynamic as the people who enjoy it.

The process of making liquorice is a labour of love, combining simple ingredients with time-honoured techniques to create a beloved treat enjoyed by people around the world. From the earthy sweetness of the liquorice root to the endless possibilities for flavour and creativity, liquorice is truly a wonder that continues to captivate and inspire.