Most of us remember as liquorice as the pungent black candies we ate as children. But liquorice is more than that. This woody perennial herb is used as a tonic for a variety of ailments, including hay fever, asthma and stress. In addition to the medical uses, liquorice extract can also be used in baking and to flavour tea. Liquorice extract can be purchased, but you can also make your own.
Hang the liquorice roots until almost dry. Cut into thin slices.
Place the roots into a clean canning jar, filling it approximately two-thirds full.
Cover the liquorice root with the vodka or grain alcohol. Place a square of cling film over the mouth of the jar and tightly screw on the lid. The cling film will help prevent rusting.
Shake well and store in a dark place for six weeks. Shake the jar at least twice a week.
Strain the contents of the jar by placing the cheesecloth over a bowl. Squeeze the liquorice root in the cheesecloth to extract as much of the liquid as possible.
Transfer the liquid in the bowl to a clean canning jar or other container. Store in a dark place. The extract should be good for about three years.
Liquorice candy often has little, if any, liquorice root in its ingredients. July is the best time to collect liquorice roots.
Liquorice extract can cause high blood pressure and adrenal gland stimulation. Check with your doctor before using the extract as a treatment.