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Angelica is a flamboyant herb, that's meant to safeguard you from evil, particularly witches. Angelica has a sweet, musky aroma and its taste is musky, earthy and warm, with hints of aniseed, celery and a ginny juniper flavour.

Young leaves can be used in salads to add some aromatic flavours. The celery-flavoured leaves can be used for herbal tea, perhaps with some juniper berries to highlight angelica's hints of juniper's ginniness. Angelica root can also be used for tea.

Angelica root or seed oil is used to flavour liqueurs (Chartreuse and Vermouth), as a "secret ingredient" in some gins, and to add a muscatel flavour to wines.

Angelica is perhaps best known for the candied stalk that is used for flavouring and decorating cakes, biscuits and ice cream. When buying the candied angelica make sure it is pale-green and genuine and not the bright green plastic-like thing that may be sold as angelica.

You can easily make your own candied angelica:

  1. Cut young angelica stalks into 10 cm pieces
  2. Place angelica into a ceramic bowl, then cover in boiling brine, made in proportion of 600 ml water to 100 g salt. Leave overnight or for 24 hours.
  3. Drain, peel then wash.
  4. Add 700g of sugar to 900 ml of water, and boil for 15 minutes. Add angelica stems to the sugar syrup. Boil for 20 minutes.
  5. Drain from syrup through a sieve, for 3-4 days, keeping the syrup for later.
  6. Put the angelica stems back into the reserved syrup. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Allow angelica to cool in the syrup.
  7. Drain again over a sieve for 3-4 days.
  8. Cover with caster sugar. Remove from caster sugar and store in a container, using in home baking.

Further reading

  • Hemphill, I., Hemphill, K. (2014) The Spice and Herb Bible, Robert Rose. ISBN 9780778804932.
  • McVicar, J. (1999, republished 2006) Jekka's Complete Herb Book, Silverdale Books. ISBN 9781845093709.
  • Norman, J. (2015) Herbs & Spices: The Cook's Reference, DK Publishing. ISBN 9781465435989.