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.
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.
Once 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.
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.
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.
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!