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What is liquorice and how it is produced?
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The specific taste of liquorice comes from liquorice root, which is a root from the liquorice branch, Glycyrrhiza glabra, and belongs to the butterfly flower. Liquorice branches are approx. 1 meter tall and their origins lie in countries around the Mediterranean, such as Greece, Spain, and Italy, or the so-called subtropical areas. The bushes grow best alongside a moist river bed. Liquorice root gets its sweet taste from glycerin. This acid is over fifty times sweeter than sugar. The after taste of glycerin is the typical liquorice taste. In the Netherlands, you can buy pieces of licorice root to chew on.

After 4 years of growing the liquorice root, its bushes are taken out of the ground by the farmers and their roots are then removed. This takes place in October. By then, the bush has lost all of its leaves and will not grow any further until the rain season in April of the following year. Because the roots are sometimes four meters deep into the ground, harvesting can be a tricky job. Part of the roots are cut off. After which the bush is put into the ground again, so it can grow further.

To avoid mold, the cut off roots are dried in the sun. After they have dried the farmer sells the roots to the factory. It is there that they are cut, stripped into long frayed pieces, and made into pulp with water. After filtering, the pulp is thickened into an extract. This extract is poured into containers and dried again. The product that is created is called block liquorice. The block liquorice is further exported for processing to the liquorice, tobacco, and pharmaceutical industry elsewhere in the world.

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