It's that time of year when every other person you pass is sneezing and coughing. Even if you properly wash your hands and try to stay away from the sickies, in all likelihood you will still end up, sometime or the other, with the cold/flu bug in your home. When this happens, there are some things that you can do to make the symptoms more bearable. Today I want to share a home made cough drop recipe with you. While I did not create this recipe (and I do not sell this product), I have had it in my recipe box for several years. I am not sure who to credit with it, but it is a good recipe for sure!
One really great thing about this recipe is that you can make it ahead of time, so you can be prepared. Additionally, you can easily change up the flavor profile, adapting it to your preferences. I have listed some alternative ingredients, as well as the reasons they may be good choices, but before cutting or changing ingredients, you should know that; lemon has antiseptic properties and has been noted to help open the air passageways, as well as reduce phlegm. And honey is a natural humectant, which means that it draws moisture (goodbye dry, scratchy throat), and it has antiseptic qualities, while also being a bacteria inhibitor. Actually, these two ingredients are often used in commercial cough drops and other throat soothing products, because of their natural properties, not simply for their flavoring. In other words....leave them in the recipe if there is any way you can.
1 3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
1/2 cup water
Line a baking pan (9x9) with foil, making sure that the foil goes all the way up the sides of the pan, or you will be sorry! Then, butter the sides of a 2 quart saucepan. Combine the corn syrup, sugar, honey, and water in the pan. Cook over a medium-high heat until the mixture boils. Make sure that you stir constantly, in order to dissolve the sugar and keep it from burning. This usually takes about five minutes, give or take a few minutes. Once the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat down to medium and continue cooking at a light boil. Stir occasionally. Once it reaches the soft crack stage (which is 290 degrees F. on a candy thermometer), keep cooking for 20 more minutes, still stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Stir it occasionally, as it cools, for the next 2-3 minutes, then add the lemon. **If you are going to add any other vitamins or herbs, add them at this point** Then pour the mixture into the foil-lined pan to finish cooling. As it cools (another 3-10 minutes), it is a good idea to use a spatula and mark some "break" lines into the drops. Make squares in the size you want, remembering that they are for individual-size portions. These marks will stay when the mixture is completely set up, making it easier to portion correctly and consistently. If your marks do not stay, it means that the mixture is still too hot and needs more cooling time, just wait a while and try it again. Once properly marked, let the pan sit overnight then use the foil to lift it out of the pan. Break the pieces apart along your marks then package them in individual candy wrappers or wax paper. Make sure to twist each end tightly, then put all of the wrapped pieces into a large baggie or a paper bag. This recipe will make from 100-200 pieces, depending upon the size that you mark and break. They will last from 6-8 months, when properly wrapped and stored.
**To make this recipe more holistic and herbal you can add one each of the
following; zinc, vitamin C, echinacea, and goldenseal. If these are in tablet form, finely crush them before adding, if in capsules, just pull apart and drop the inner content into your mixture.
Of course you could also change up this recipe by either substituting (for the lemon), or just by adding an herb or two (some essential oils are ok too) to the lemon.
*when using fresh herbs, it is probably best to infuse them into the liquid portion of the recipe, but you can also finely chop them.
*You may also substitute a food-safe flavoring oil, however you will NOT receive any of the benefits listed for that flavor. The way in which they are created destroys their natural benefits.
*If you plan to use essential oils, you MUST be aware of, and familiar with, the warnings, as well as the necessary dilution rate (which are not provided for you here).
*If you are not familiar with the proper use of essential oils in edible products, you should NOT attempt to use them in this recipe.
If you want, you may add another herb/spice (in addition) to the lemon. Basil, bay, bergamot, black pepper, clary sage, geranium, grapefruit, lavender, lime, orange, rosemary, vanilla, all blend well with lemon.
If you would like to substitute another herb/spice for the lemon, you may want to consider one of the following;
-Basil has a beneficial action on the respiratory tract, and is often used for asthma, bronchitis, colds, coughs and sinus infections. It blends well with; black pepper, ginger, geranium, grapefruit, lavender and lemon.
-Black Pepper has antimicrobial and antiseptic properties, and is good for coughs, colds and flus. It blends well with bergamot, clary sage, coriander, fennel, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, lime, orange, nutmeg, and rosemary.
-Ginger is good for colds and flu, congestion, coughs, sinusitis, sore throats, fever and chills. It does have a slight warming affect, so be extra cautious in the amount that you add. It blends well with; basil, black pepper, cinnamon, clary sage, clove, coriander, eucalyptus, geranium, lemon, lime, orange, rose, rosemary, spearmint, and vanilla.
-Geranium is good for sore throats and tonsillitis, and blends well with; basil, grapefruit, lavender, lime, orange, and rosemary.
-Grapefruit is good for colds, flu, and headaches and blends well with; basil, black pepper, geranium, lavender, lime, and lemon.
-Lavender is good for bronchitis, asthma, colds, laryngitis, and throat infections. It will blends well with everything, so use your imagination.
-Lemongrass is good for sore throats, laryngitis, and fever as well as indigestion and gastroenteritis. It blends well with; basil, bergamot, black Pepper, clary Sage, eucalyptus, geranium, ginger, lavender, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, rose, and vanilla.
-Lime is good fevers, colds, sore throats, flu, coughs, bronchitis, sinusitis and asthma. It blends well with; basil, clary sage, eucalyptus, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, orange, peppermint, rose, rosemary, and spearmint.
-Margoram, an antiseptic and calming agent
-Eucalyptus, an antiseptic and calming agent, good for bronchitis, colds, flu, headaches, sinusitis sore throats, and throat infections. The antiseptic properties in the essential oil increase with age.
-Orange (Sweet) is good for colds, flu, and fever, blending well with; basil, black Pepper, cinnamon, ginger, clary Sage, lavender, lime, peppermint, and spearmint.
dry coughs, sinus congestion, asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia, as well as bad breath (in case you want to make breath drops along with the throat drops). Peppermint blends well with; basil, black pepper, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, lemon, lime, orange, and rosemary.
-Rose (use pure essential oil or untreated rose petals to infuse the water) posses anti-infectious, antiseptic, antiviral, and bactericidal properties that help with asthma, headaches, and coughs. It blends well with; bergamot, chamomile, clary sage, geranium, lavender, lemon, and madarin.
-Spearmint. While spearmint has properties of a local anesthetic, an antiseptic, a decongestant and an expectorant which can benefit fevers, headaches, asthma, bronchitis and colds, its effects are less powerful than those of peppermint. For this reason, spearmint may be better in children's products. It blends well with; basil, lavender, peppermint and rosemary.