There's nothing like a winter cold. Coughing. Sneezing. Sore throat. Sleepless nights. It probably sounds all too familiar to many of you. Currently, I am on the couch curled up under a blanket still sick after four days of taking every home remedy I can find on the internet.
I posted a while back about how to Battle a Cold - Zero Waste Style but since them I've come up with quite a few homemade recipes that have helped endlessly, including a homemade cough drop recipe. Cough drops come in quite handy to ease sore throats and suppress that endless hacking. When we buy them in stores though, they almost always are packaged in a plastic bag and individually wrapped in plastic wrappers. Not to mention filled with ingredients I can't name.
This recipe gave me quite a few problems when I first tried it so I'll do my best to include the lessons I've learned along the way! Once you get it right though, you won't go back (my mom swears by them!).
Peppermint Honey Cough Drops
Candy mold or wax paper
1 cup hot water
1 tbsp. peppermint tea leaves
1 tbsp. lemon/ginger tea leaves
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 cup honey
5-10 drops peppermint (optional)
A handful powdered sugar
1. After heating the water, steep tea leaves, cinnamon, and turmeric for at least 10 minutes. The longer you steep it, the stronger it will taste.
2. Drain the tea mixture and pour it into a small pot.
3. Add the honey to the pot and turn the heat on high.
4. Use the candy thermometer to measure the temperature of the mixture constantly as it heats. Gently stir the mixture on a regular basis and constantly when it gets close to 300 degrees.
5. The goal is to get the mixture to 300 degrees and then to turn off the heat before it burns. It took me almost 15 minutes to get it up to temperature so don't give up (and I burnt the first batch!). Hint: If your candy thermometer isn't an automatic electric one, it is best to turn off the temperature when hitting 280-90 to avoid it burning. At such a high temperature, it will burn really quickly after hitting 300.
6. Remove the pot from the heat and add in the peppermint essential oil. Hint: it might vaporize! To avoid having a coughing attack and semi-burning in your eyes, make sure not to have your face over the pot.
7. Using a spoon, dollop the syrup into small circles on a sheet of wax paper or in a candy mold. The syrup will start to get hard towards the end so work fast! It is also possible to handle the dollops of syrup once it cools a little and roll them into balls with your hands (I personally don't have enough callouses to make this work!)
8. Flash freeze the cough drops for about one hour in the freezer.
9. Pop the cough drops off the wax paper and roll in powdered sugar. Make sure they are completely covered to avoid sweating and a sticky mess later! Hint: If you don't want to use powdered sugar, I have heard arrowroot powder also works!
10. Store in a jar in the fridge or cupboard (although if you are in a hot climate, I would recommend the fridge to be safe).
11. Enjoy them the next time you are sick!