I think this is one of my favorite units! We’ve learned how to make a salad from foraged greens, how to process acorns and turn them into tasty pancakes, and make cough drops from foraged horehound! Today I’m going to show you how to make these bitter tasting medicinal cough drops. We made a very small batch, you might have better success with a larger batch. Also remember that you’ll much less horehound if you are using the dried plant.
Horehound grows in the wild where we live in California. I’ve seen in both in southern and northern California in the spring. I recommend foraging the leaves before they begin to flower. I also recommend foraging for them off of bike trails and foot paths to ensure the cleanest leaves. You can also just forage a few leaves from each stalk and leave the plant pretty much intact.
Be sure to use caution when foraging for food in the wild. Some tell tale signs to identify horehound are the heart shaped leaves which grow in stalks opposite each other and alternate up the stalk and the square shaped stalk which is easily visible when the stalk is cut straight across with a blade.
Horehound is part of the mint family, but it does not taste minty at all!! This bitter plant can easily be a turn off and you might think that it’s not edible because of its strong flavor, and while that may be a reasonable indication that a plant is not edible, in this case, horehound is not just edible, but has incredible medicinal properties.
You can preserve the throat soothing qualities by turning this strong tea into cough drops which will last indefinitely. You can also just sip the tea (which I don’t recommend!), or you can do what I love to do and that’s to use the cough drops as ‘tea drops’ and drop one it to your favorite herbal tea to sweeten it and make it bitter at the same time!
Don’t forget these make great and unique gifts! Brew the tea and make the cough drops now, and save these powerful treats to share come winter.
Horehound (1/2 cup fresh leaves for every 1-2 cups water depending on how strong you want it).
Sugar (1/2 sugar for every 1 cup brewed tea)
Bring water to a boil. Add horehound. Let brew for 20 minutes. Strain leaves. Add sugar. dissolve sugar and heat to 300-330 degrees for hard candy. Check hardness by dropping a bit in cold water. Pour onto parchment paper or grease pan. Score when it has cooled a little bit. Break it up into chunks and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Store in a cool dry place in a jar for best taste and longest lasting freshness.
Please let me know if you try this out!
check out the other videos in our Nature Unit.