fresh horehound lozenges

Yesterday I got some beautiful, fresh horehound leaves from a herb farm near my place. Horehound is great for reducing the congestion of an oncoming cold, so making this batch into lozenges in advance of the winter season.

horehound_leaves

To make the lozenges, put a packed cup of the fresh leaves into a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan with a cup of water. Cover, bring to simmer, reduce the heat to low for 20 minutes.

Pour the finished leaf “tea” into a mesh strainer over a bowl to catch the liquid. Squeeze the liquid from the leaves into the bowl, and add the liquid back into the saucepan. Compost the spent leaves.

Add 1 cup of corn syrup and 2 cups granulated sugar to the liquid. Mix and bring to bubbling. Keep heating until the syrup reaches the hard crack stage — about 300F. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, test by dropping a bit of the syrup into cold water. The resulting drop will harden immediately when ready. Test by crunching with your teeth. If it cracks cleanly, it’s ready. If it’s still a bit gummy/sticky, cook some more.

candy_moldOnce your syrup is ready, let cool for a few minutes. I’m using silicone candy molds, so used this time to lightly spray the molds with oil and wiping off the residue to leave a very light coating.

horehound_candy_poured

Pour the cooled syrup into the molds, stopping before it reaches the rim. It’s okay if there’s some spillover between pours — that’s easy to remove once the syrup hardens. If you don’t have a mold, I’ve read you can simply spread the mix on a greased baking sheet and score into candy-sized pieces while still warm.

horehound_candy_unmolded

After the lozenges have cooled — 20 minutes or so — pop them out of the mold and press each one down a little on a plate to remove any rough edges.

horehound_candy_finished

To keep them from sticking together in the jar or bag, place the lozenges in a dry mesh strainer and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Toss to coat lightly over a bowl to catch the extra sugar. Place in a container or bag in a cool, dry place. You’ll be prepared if that first sign of a winter cold comes on!

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