Licorice root peeled and cut - licorice
What is a licorice root? What is licorice?
The licorice root is, as the name implies, the root of the licorice plant which is a perennial. This belongs to the butterfly flower plants (Fabaceae) and grows in the warm climate of Eurasia, the Mediterranean, India, China and Eastern Europe. The licorice forms long taproots and a whole subterranean system of root foothills that can grow into new plants. Liquorice is made from licorice root.
How and where is the licorice grown?
The cultivation of licorice takes place in the warm climate of Eurasia, the Mediterranean, India, China and Eastern Europe. They are grown by either seed breeding or offshoots of the plant. Growing of the seeds is more time consuming. Here, the licorice plant reaches harvest maturity in three to four years. Plants grown from offshoots reach their harvest maturity in the first year.
When is licorice harvested?
Autumn is harvest time for mature plants, then the roots and their outriggers are dug up and cleaned. A licorice root is between 25 cm and 100 cm long with a diameter of up to 3.5 cm.
What happens after the harvest of licorice root?
Most of the harvest is processed directly. Either ground or extracted with hot water and evaporated. Extracting produces a dark extract - the well-known licorice. Only a few amounts of the root are cleaned and cut and sold as liquorice root. In addition, there are also whole bars in the trade, which is extremely rare. Personally, I have discovered such licorice rootsticks only in spice shops in France. My husband knew rootsticks from his childhood in Italy, where he chewed them for hours.
Can you cook with the licorice root?
In China, licorice root is used as a spice. It completes the flavors of fennel and star anise perfectly. Adding a little licorice powder refines the five spices powder from China.
The licorice root is also suitable for seasoning broths. The French cuisine and local star chefs have rediscovered the licorice root. It is freshly ground and then used to refine sauces, casseroles, fennel risotto or salad dressing.
The licorice root is also a medicinal plant and is used as a remedy / tea in China and India for the treatment of upper respiratory tract diseases.
In Europe, it is mainly used to make licorice.