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Liquorice, yay or nay?

My current chai recipe calls for star anise, which I’ve slavishly added because I’m an idiot obviously. I hate this shit. It gives me the willies.

Anise, star anise (totally different plants, I did not realize), fennel and liquorice all derive their flavor largely (I have learned through a cursory trawl through Google and now I r expert) from a compound called anethole.

But they each have lots of other stuff going on. Like, “90% of the world’s star anise crop is used for extraction of shikimic acid, a chemical intermediate used in the synthesis of oseltamivir (Tamiflu)” Wikipedia tells me.

And once most liquorice was used in cigarette manufacture, giving American cigs a distinctive flavor, until the FDA banned it in 2009 for some reason. Which means the cigarettes I knew and loved no longer even exist.

My mother in law loves the stuff. My mother did, too. We could always con her into taking the black jelly beans.

Black candy. Surely, Mother, they are trying to tell you something.

Can you bear this stuff, or is it just me?


Comment from LesterIII
Time: March 18, 2019, 10:18 pm

It isn’t just you, Sweas. That flavor is horrid.

The only beneficial thing from that group is that fennel seed does aid in helping with intestinal gas. My wife INSISTS it be on hand, because of MY insistence on eating deeeeeelicious things (often in combination) that make me legendary in certain mythos.

I’ll slug some fennel seed down when it’s bad enough, but the flavor-family of anise/fennel/liquorice is disgusting.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: March 18, 2019, 10:28 pm

Didnt you read about the guy who bought poppy seeds bc they said it made a relaxing tea? A couple of days later, they found him DEAD. You never know how much the poppy seeds are contaminated. One cup may be fine, the next brew will kill ya!

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: March 18, 2019, 10:39 pm

The FDA came down on black licorice a few years ago. Bad for the old ticker, apparently.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: March 19, 2019, 12:31 am

Liquorice? Meh. I eat the black liquorice Jelly Bellies but I don’t pick them out for special treatment like I do the tangerine ones (I love ’em!) or the ones they mysteriously and with not a shred of rationale call “mango” (I toss ’em in the toilet where they belong).

Comment from Ben
Time: March 19, 2019, 1:26 am

I like it!

You should try Drop (Dutch Licorice)

Comment from Bob
Time: March 19, 2019, 1:49 am

I had a bottle of liquorice based laxative around here for years. It was advertised as a five-day cleanse. Many of the Amazon reviews complained that it was far from gentle. I only took it once, and it was convincingly effective. I checked the bottle about two weeks ago, it had expired years ago and the pills had all turned frosty white, so I pitched it.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 19, 2019, 8:33 am

Contaminated with what, Ric Fan? There’s enough opium to trip a drug test in poppy seeds, but I wouldn’t have thought enough to get you high. Certainly not enough to kill you. A pesticide or something?

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: March 19, 2019, 9:52 am

AS with any seed, if you eat it a plant will grow inside you and kill you.

The end

As related to me by my older brothers the first time I swallowed an apple seed.

Uncle Al – the tangerine flavor is the bomb!
Licorice flavor, I eat because it tastes bad and is therefore, according to my authentically Yankee grandmother (the other was a fuzzy furriner), good for you.

So can you grow sesame in your neck of the woods or would that have to take up space in the hot house?

Comment from Can’t Hark My Cry
Time: March 19, 2019, 12:09 pm

Well, I like licorice, and fennel, and star anise. But I am in the minority among the group of people I know–including, it would seem, the minions. I are resigned to it.

Comment from drew458
Time: March 19, 2019, 3:12 pm

Licorice, good licorice, is awesome. Sadly, very little good licorice is easily available in the USA. About the best you can commonly find is in the black bag from Panda. I’ve tried licorice from all over the world, including the kind covered in chemicals from the Netherlands, and the burnt to a crisp stuff from Italy. Panda brand is right up there at the top, although I do wish the flavor was stronger. Any suggestions, fellow licorice lovers?

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: March 19, 2019, 3:48 pm

Stoaty: Contaminated with bits and pieces which contain a high concentration of morphine. e.g., straw, which is bits of the plant itself and latex, which I think is the gooey stuff that oozes out when they cut the pod.


Comment from thefritz
Time: March 19, 2019, 7:06 pm

I love the stuff. However, a word of caution, if you eat a whole bag at one sitting the outcome is a frightful colour…

Drew458, Panda is very, very good. Have you tried Ferrara’s Anise Bears? Once the sugar melts off the fun begins!

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: March 20, 2019, 2:51 am

Drew I get the Ozzy brand. Though on reading the package it seems it doesn’t have much to do with Oz.

Still, lovely texture, no hole in the middle, which was the sort I grew up with.

I was a red licorice (which isn’t of course) fiend.

Comment from Oldowan
Time: March 21, 2019, 2:49 pm

“Licorice is the liver of candy.”

— Ed Bluestone

Comment from BJM
Time: March 25, 2019, 3:57 am

I loveses the flavor of anise. I make fermented carrot sticks with slivers of fresh ginger, garlic and 1/2 a star anise in the bottom of the jar….soooo tasty.

Here’s an easy peasy how-to page if you haven’t tried fermenting veggies yet…carrots are the perfect gateway into the hard stuff like Kraut, kimchi, pickles, fizzy lemonade and homemade ginger ale.

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