I try to keep herbal lozenges in my purse at all times.
When I feel that scratch at the back of my throat–especially when I’m traveling–I don’t want to have to rely on finding creepy store-bought cough drops. That’s why I make my own.
This particular round of homemade throat lozenges features honey infused with lemon balm and stinging nettle, a decoction of herbs/herbal tea, and lemon juice. The big batch below makes a decent batch–enough for a gift and my purse pocket alike.
I’m not going to lie: I don’t enjoy making hard candy. Hard candy is temperamental–literally and figuratively. Everything depends on getting your batch to the hard crack stage at 300 degrees; go even a wee inkling beyond 300 degrees and you’ll likely scorch your batch.
We own four candy thermometers at this point–not one of them is particularly accurate. In spite of the best advice from friends in the know and the world wide web, I have never been able to adjust to accommodate any one of my thermometers. So I am that harried, old-school candy maker: I stand at the stove obsessively watching my batch, regularly sending drops through the gauntlet of a cold glass of water, waiting for that magical moment when the drop reveals that the rolling, boiling mixture has reached the hard drop stage.
If you have never made hard candy before, I encourage you to explore every resource that can raise your confidence and help you do everything right.
(Meanwhile, remain prepared to end up with squishy, un-hard lozenges or a scorched batch–in spite of your best efforts and emotional investment–nonetheless.)
You needn’t risk losing a precious batch of herb-infused honey if you’re concerned: good ol’ raw organic honey works just as well.
I used Traditional Medicinal Throat Coat tea for this batch, but you can use any herbal tea or herbal infusion or decoction that fits your desired outcome. I can recommend lemon ginger, chamomile, peppermint, marshmallow root, and hibiscus tea blends–I’ve used them all to great ends. I’ve also had great luck with a fennel seed and marshmallow root decoction.
Herb-Infused Honey Lemon Throat Lozenges
These natural throat lozenges offer a beautiful balance of healing herbs, soothing honey, and delicious lemon.
- 2 cups herbal decoction (or 2 cups tea from 6-8 teabags)
- 2 cups raw organic honey (I used honey infused with lemon balm and stinging nettle, but any honey will do)
- 4T fresh organic lemon juice plus 3tsp lemon zest
- candy thermometer
- silicone molds with small chambers
- 1/2 cup total powdered white sugar, powdered coconut sugar, tapioca starch, or combination thereof (for dusting)
- wax/parchment paper or cellophane (for wrapping)
- Step 1 Heat and simmer your herbal decoction (or steep your herbal tea bags) in 2+ cups water with the lemon zest for 20 minutes.
- Step 2 While the herbs simmer or the tea steeps, prepare your materials and workspaces–you’ll want to be ready to move quickly once your lozenges are ready to pour. Cut paper for wrapping into candy wrapper sizes (typically 3 x 4 in for most candy mold-size candies).
- Step 3 Remove herbs/tea bags and strain resulting liquid into a heatproof container. Reduce (or adjust with hot water) to obtain 2 cups total.
- Step 4 In a large pot with a thick bottom and high sides, combine the hot decoction/tea, honey, and lemon juice stirring to combine well.
- Step 5 Attach your candy thermometer to the side of the pot so it is submerged in the liquid but not touching the bottom of the pot. Begin cooking on medium-high heat heating ONLY when you are sure you can remain with the pot for up to 45 minutes–you will NOT be able to leave the pot unattended once you begin simmering!
- Step 6 Bring the mixture to a boil, turn down the heat slightly to manage the boil, and allow the heat to climb to 300 degrees F.
- Step 7 When the temperature reaches exactly 300 degrees according to your insanely accurate candy thermometer (or when it reaches the hard drop stage), immediately remove from the heat. Allow to cool for a few minutes, get a sturdy potholder, and pour into your prepared candy molds.
- Step 8 Allow the lozenges to cool in the molds. Meanwhile, place some of your dusting powder in a clean, dry jar with a tight sealing lid.
- Step 9 By the handful, place cooled lozenges in the jar, shake to coat, and remove with a slotted spoon. Sift in a stainless steel sieve to remove excess powder. Wrap individual lozenges to prevent humidity from reducing them to goo… Store in a dry, airtight jar for up to 4 months.
Wishing you enduring wellness and sweet, homemade comforts.
Bless and blessed be!