When you hear the word Licorice, what comes to your mind? Most probably, you will answer candy like the majority of the people. However, this herb has a lot more for introduction than just candy. Licorice, also written as Liquorice, is a flowering plant. It belongs to the bean family of plants which is also called Fabaceae in the botanical language. The plant of Licorice is native to North Africa, Southern Europe, and Western Asia. Therefore, it is found in large quantities in those regions. Though this plant has a high resemblance with fennel and anise, these plants are different. They don’t have close botanical relation.
Like most herbs, Licorice is also used as traditional medicine and herbalism in the older times. It can cure dry cough, arthritis, various infections, bronchitis, peptic ulcers, sore throat, prostate cancer, and much more. However, this herb has a specified limit. And consuming higher quantities can lead to negative results.
What does Licorice Look Like?
The herbaceous plant of Licorice grows around 1 meter in height. The plant is equipped with green leaves and leaflets. The leaves normally come in sizes of 7 cm to 15 cm. Each leaf contains around 9 to 17 leaflets. Besides, Licorice also contains flowers, which is the reason behind its attractive appearance. The flowers on this plant have either pale whitish blue or purple color. The normal size of these flowers is between 20 cm to 30 cm. The flowers also produce seeds. However, the most used part of this plant is its roots used as herbs and spices.
Where does Licorice Come From?
Though this plant is the native plant of Asia, Africa, and Europe, traces of its existence can be found in Egypt. Most historians believe that Egyptians firstly used this plant to cure various diseases. A piece of Licorice root is also found in the tomb of Tutankhamun. Besides, Greeks and Assyrians were also among the discovering nations of Licorice. They discovered its therapeutic characteristics. And with proper experiments, they started using it for various purposes. And then, it was introduced to the rest of Europe and the world.
How is Licorice Made?
For making Licorice, you must cut the fresh roots into pieces first. Then, wash all the pieces carefully. Make sure you remove the impurities and soil. Then, put all the pieces under sunlight and let them dry well. Keep the roots under the sun until it gets completely dry. The process may take around a week. Then use a grinder to ground the roots. Keep grounding it unless it transforms into powder form. Afterward, air dries the ground Licorice. This process will remove the extra moisture. Finally, your Licorice is ready for use.
What Does Licorice Taste Like?
Licorice has a very confusing taste. You will always find a debate about its taste. However, the majority of the views say that this herb has a combined taste of sweetness and bitterness. It has a polarizing taste that highly resembles the taste of fennel and anise.
How is Licorice Used in Cooking?
Licorice has a hard texture. So, to get the higher flavor, you must steep it in hot water. Then, it should be added to the recipe. You can add the root to the food while cooking and remove it when done with it. However, the roots are hard to chew. So, it is better to serve the food without it.
What Types of Cuisines Use Licorice?
Licorice is used in different cuisines. Therefore, you will find drinks, culinary, and baked items made of this herb. Some cuisines include meat, sweet custard, cake, vegetable, and more. Besides, syrups, jellies, sauces, and teas made of Licorice are also praised worldwide.
What is a Licorice Substitute?
Licorice has a high resemblance with fennel and anise, which is also stated above. They have the same taste. Both of these ingredients make good replacements for Licorice. So, if you get out of Licorice next time, you should use either fennel or anise to get the same taste as Licorice.
Where to Buy Licorice?
Licorice is not a very common herb. Most people have not even heard of this plant. That’s why it may be hard for you to find this plant. But don’t worry because we have a solution for you. We are recommending few best and high-quality products. You can also get them online. These are listed below.
- Jiva Organics Organic Licorice Root Tea (Cut & Sifted) Bulk 1 Pound Kraft Bag – Non-GMO, Dried & Pure – Glycyrrhiza glabra
- Starwest Botanicals Organic Licorice Root Loose Cut and Sifted, 1 Pound Bulk Bag
- Licorice Root Sticks – 100% Pure, Raw all-Natural Licorice Root Sticks 8oz / 1/2lb – African Licorice Root – Chew Sticks Mulethi Glycyrrhiza Glabra