Harvest Cough Drops

* 2 c. turbinado sugar
* 1 c. strong herbal tea
* 3/4 c. light corn syrup
* 1/4 t essential oils

Making the tea:

These cough drops are a way to use some of the herbs you have grown or that you find growing near you. I go out and collect everything that is abundant and have properties that are good for cough drops (expectorant, anti-microbial, mucilaginous). Some herbs I have used are elecampane, thyme, sage, echinacea, marshmallow, angelica, elder flowers, mullein and comfrey.

I collect everything and throw all the roots in a pot and simmer these for about 30 minutes then throw in the leafy herbs and simmer some more. I start with about 1 quart of water. After the herbs have simmered for 10 minutes or so I cool it down and strain out the herbs then put the tea back on the stove and simmer until the volume of liquid is reduced to 1 cup.

When the tea is finished, combine it with the sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved then lower heat and cook without stirring until the temperature reaches 300 degree. This takes a long time! When the mixture reaches 300 degrees remove it from the heat and stir in your essential oils. I used peppermint and eucalyptus. Most of the oil evaporates quickly so I add the oil, stir briefly then pour the syrup onto a baking sheet.

The syrup immediately begins to harden. As soon as I can touch it and pull up the edges I start cutting strips and snipping them into little pieces. You have to work fast. I got behind on one batch and had to put chunks in a bag and crack them into pieces.

Notes: These turn out a lot like the ricola cough drops. If you don’t have fresh herbs I’m sure you could substitute dried herbs but I haven’t tried out proportions yet. I want to add horehound too but I’m afraid of putting in too much.

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