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What Is Green Licorice?

By C. Mitchell
Updated May 16, 2024
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In most cases, “green licorice” refers to a green-colored candy that resembles a licorice twist in appearance, but is actually flavored to taste like green apple. As such, calling the candy “licorice” is a misnomer, but it is a commonly accepted one owing to the candy’s style and overall presentation. True licorice candy is flavored with extracts from either the licorice plant or the similar-tasting anise plant. In some cases, green licorice is actually licorice-flavored candy that is artificially tinted green, or else surrounded by a green-colored candy shell. This is more uncommon.

Licorice twists are a popular candy that come in a distinctive shape and form. They are usually black, and appear as rope-like strands that are anywhere from 6 inches to 1 foot (about 15 to 30 cm) long. The texture is usually firm, but chewy. Green licorice takes on the same form and texture as black licorice, but has a totally different flavor.

Green licorice is believed to have originated in the United States, though it is popular in many parts of the world. It is one of many different so-called licorice flavors. In truth, licorice has but one flavor — that of licorice itself, derived from licorice extract. It has become very common to refer to different licorice-style candies as actual flavors of licorice, however. As such, green licorice can also usually be called apple-flavored licorice.

Along with twists, licorice laces and bites are common variations. Green licorice laces are usually long threads or strings of candy made of the same substance as twists. These laces are popular in baking, as they can add fanciful elements to cookies, cupcakes, and all manner of confections. Cooking with licorice is usually rather difficult given the candy’s gummy consistency. Most of the time, the candy is added after baked goods have come out of the oven, as a decoration.

Green licorice bites are almost exactly what they sound like: bite-sized candies, usually made by slicing twists into smaller pieces. Licorice bites are common ways for candy manufacturers to make use of oddly-shaped or damaged twists. They are often less expensive, but taste just the same.

Some licorice manufacturers actually make green-colored licorice-flavored candy, most commonly pastilles. Licorice pastilles are small, chewy “drops” or pellets of candy. They are often made with a crisp candy-coating that is, in most cases, unflavored. White and black are the most traditional colors for licorice-flavored pastilles, but some manufacturers use other colors, whether for different seasons or for special orders. It is rare to see green licorice pastilles, but it is not unheard of.

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Discussion Comments
By donasmrs — On Apr 03, 2014

@Reminiscence-- I buy my green licorice laces online. They used to be available at my local grocery store but they stopped stocking it for some unknown reason. Unfortunately, the downside of purchasing online is that you will have to pay for shipping. I don't mind because I'm hooked on green licorice and usually buy many packages at once, so they last me for a while.

I've also used the green licorice laces for cake decoration, to make "grass." It worked and looked great.

By serenesurface — On Apr 03, 2014

Actually, some apple flavored, green licorice candies do have licorice extract in them. The type I purchase certainly does.

I have to admit however that green licorice candy is not everyone's cup of tea. There is a strong green apple flavor but also a licorice flavor which might seem odd for some. I personally love it and prefer it to regular licorice candy or other flavors like strawberry.

The most important thing to pay attention to when purchasing green licorice candy is the ingredients list in my opinion. It should be a natural product with natural ingredients and coloring. My green licorice has natural cane sugar, natural apple and licorice flavor and natural color. Beware of candies with artificial flavors and coloring.

By fify — On Apr 02, 2014

Technically, most licorice candies are not really licorice either because may are made with anise which tastes similar to licorice but is a lot cheaper. So I don't see any problem with calling other candies similar in appearance as licorice. Licorice has come to mean twist candy for many people anyway.

By Reminiscence — On Apr 02, 2014

I've seen the green-colored licorice pieces, but not the green apple flavored licorice mentioned here. I actually like black licorice, but I can see why others wouldn't. I'll have to look for the green apple flavor at one of those old-fashioned candy stores.

By Phaedrus — On Apr 01, 2014

When I saw the word "licorice" in the title of this article, I almost didn't read it. I hate black licorice with a passion. I think the anise or licorice extract makes it taste unbelievably bitter. But I think I could eat a few pieces of green licorice, since it tastes like green apples. I haven't seen any around my area, though.

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