Most of us remember as licorice as the pungent black candies we ate as children. But licorice 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, licorice extract can also be used in baking and to flavor tea. Licorice extract can be purchased, but you can also make your own.
Hang the licorice roots until almost dry. Cut into thin slices.
Place the roots into a clean canning jar, filling it approximately two-thirds full.
Cover the licorice root with the vodka or grain alcohol. Place a square of plastic wrap over the mouth of the jar and tightly screw on the lid. The plastic wrap 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 licorice 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.
Licorice candy often has little, if any, licorice root in its ingredients. July is the best time to collect licorice roots.