In this week's Martin & Sylvia's Nature School story, “Nature Medicine,” when Martin wakes with some ominous cold symptoms, his instinctive response is to tell everyone, “I feel fine.” He adores his weekly time at Goose-Eye Wilderness School and doesn't want to miss it. But then, during wilderness school that day, Eva teaches a little lesson on how the elders of old used to discover wisdom in the natural world, and Martin begins to receive some wisdom of his own.
When I was Martin's age and went to visit my grandmother's house with a scratchy throat, her favorite “remedy” was a spoon full of honey. I have vivid memories of waking in the middle of the night with her standing by my bed in the lamplight, squeezing the golden liquid onto a silver teaspoon and encouraging me to swallow the whole thing down.
This week's recipe turns that natural remedy into a more portable form — a honey cough drop.
While you could flavor these cough drops with anything you wanted, ginger, cloves, and lemon are three additions that will further help soothe a sore throat. If you've never made candy before, this is an easy recipe to start with, just make sure you have all the tools you'll need close by before you begin. Also, mind the mixture especially carefully right at the end—the honey can burn quickly at such high heat.
Kept at room temperature, these cough drops last indefinitely. (If they start to look sticky, just re-dust them with powdered sugar or cornstarch.) Make up a batch now so you'll have them ready the next time someone in your family wakes up with a scratchy throat.
Honey Ginger Cough Drops
½ cup honey
¼ cup water
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons lemon juice
powdered sugar or cornstarch (for dusting the finished cough drops)
Once that's all ready, mix together all of the ingredients (except the powdered sugar or cornstarch) in a saucepan that feels larger than you need. Set the pan over medium high heat and whisk continuously, monitoring the temperature with your candy thermometer. The mixture will foam up, but just keep whisking.
Allow the cough drops to harden and cool for about 10 minutes, then dust them lightly with powdered sugar or cornstarch. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature.
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred year old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two pre-schoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion--showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun--in her weekly Sparkle Kitchen posts.
When Meryl isn't writing for Sparkle Kitchen, you can find her on her personal blog, My Bit of Earth, where she writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day.