Spanish Juice, Black Sugar
GER: Lakritze, Sufcholz
SP: Orozuz, Regaliz
BOT: Glycyrrhiza glabra and other species FAM: Leguminosea (Papilionaceae)
Liquorice Benefits, Uses on Recipes Photo Gallery
Liquorice comes from the root of a small perennial legume with purple-blue flowers resembling those of a bean. One can find it growing wild in southern Europe and the Middle East, from central Italy through Dalmatia and Hungary to the Ukraine and the Caucasus, and in Asia Minor as far as Afghanistan. The first time it was pointed out to me was on the banks of the River Jordan. Liquorice has been used since ancient times. No doubt Christ chewed the sweet root as a child just as we did.
Liquorice can be bought simply as a dried root or in black, flint-hard sticks made from the juice of the root concentrated by boiling. These black sticks dissolve to some extent in water. The taste is bitter-sweet.
Liquorice is grown in Spain and Italy, also in Turkey and the USSR. It was once cultivated near Pontefract in Yorkshire (Pontefract cakes) but nowadays, although the industry is still centred there, all the liquorice used is imported. Liquorice is used in sweets and candy, in drinks and in brewing.