Liquorice is phenomenal for treating a sore throat, and it also shows promise in helping to soothe gastric ulcers. Liquorice is also helpful as a digestive aid. So eat up!

If you are pregnant, stop reading now.

Liquorice extract, believe it or not, has been linked to pre-term labour and has shown to inhibit breast-milk production.

But there has to be something good about it, right?

Indeed, there is. Frances Largeman-Roth, a dietitian and the senior food editor at Health magazine from the US, says that liquorice root is phenomenal for treating a sore throat, and it also shows promise in helping to soothe gastric ulcers. 

It’s also helpful as a digestive aid.

Most people are familiar with liquorice in its lolly form – a soft, dark-coloured, chewy, sweet treat – but it is also sold as a dried or fresh root, an extract and a powder. 

 
It is a perennial and has gorgeous purple flowers.

The origin of its name is Greek and means “sweet root” – and sweet it is, with some varieties said to be much sweeter than sugar. 

 
Black liquorice is the only lolly made with the real root. The red lolly we see a lot more of these days is actually flavoured with anise. 
 
Now on the market there are also cinnamon, grape, green-apple and watermelon-flavoured liquorice.
Store the dried root tightly sealed in a dark, dry, cool place. Liquorice sweets should also be kept in a sealed bag or container where it won’t be affected by moisture.

Chef Michael Solomonov, who showcases modern Israeli cuisine at his Philadelphia restaurant Zahav, likens the flavours of liquorice to a little anise, earth, resin, wintergreen – all coming together.  He offered these tips for using the root.

 

Tips for liquorice:

Use as a subtle palate cleanser in between courses or with cheese.

Steep the roots like you would for tea and serve the liquid sweetened with honey.

Grate the root with a zester on warm oatmeal.

Throw a fresh stick in with a pot roast or a braise (with veal shanks, beef shins, lamb shoulder).

Grate on top of sweet potatoes before being broiled (along with a little bacon fat added on top).

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