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Last year I posted my cough and cold syrup. That’s some pretty awesome stuff, very effective. If taken at the onset of cold symptoms, it nearly stopped it, and certainly decreased the severity and duration. I love it.
It does kind of have a weird texture, though (because of the powdered fenugreek). It does require refrigeration. And it does only last a month, meaning that if you don’t use it all up, you waste it…and you certainly have to make a few batches through the winter if you want to have it on hand.
I wanted something that could be taken on the go, something that was shelf-stable. Something that would make taking “medicine” easier. I came up with this idea. And it works, and it tastes good (faintly of elderberries and mostly like sugar). Shelf-stable, too, so they will last all winter and you could send someone to work with a little baggie of them. How neat is that?
DIY Cough and Cold Lozenges
- 3 tbsp. Elderberry
- 1 tbsp. Echinacea
- 1 tbsp. Slippery elm
- 1 tbsp. Fenugreek
- 1 tbsp. Wild cherry bark
- 2 tbsp. Rosehips
- 1 c. water
- 2 c. cane sugar
First, you need to make a strong “tea.” Add your elderberries to a glass jar.
Add the slippery elm.
Add the wild cherry bark.
Add the fenugreek and rosehips.
(I may have mixed up the order in which these were added. It doesn’t really matter. Just add all the herbs to the jar.)
Now, pour boiling water over the herbs, about 1 c. Let this sit and steep overnight, or for several hours.
The next day (or after several hours), strain the tea. Mash the berries up very well. You may pour a small amount of filtered water through it as you are doing this. You want to end up with 1 c. of syrup.
If you mess up and pour too much water through it as you’re straining, you can simmer it for awhile until it’s back down to 1 c. The final amount needs to be 1 c.
Then, add cane sugar to the tea. Not regular white sugar, which is beet sugar. Choose organic cane sugar. Stir it in.
Bring it to a boil. It will double in volume so make sure the pot you are using is big enough to contain it. Mine is a 2-quart, I think.
Allow it to boil, without stirring, for around 10 minutes, possibly a bit longer. On a candy thermometer, you are looking for at least 250 degrees, or the ‘soft crack’ stage. You can test this by dropping a small amount of the mixture into a bowl of cold water. If it immediately firms up and cannot be molded easily, it’s ready. It will look thickened, more like this:
Yes, I have a spoon in it now. I had just tested it and was about to start scooping it out. That’s the only point at which you need the spoon. Before that, just let it cook!
When it is ready, get a large sheet of parchment paper. Drop the liquid onto it in little drops. This is messy and takes awhile and it must be done before the liquid cools too much (it cannot be reheated — I tried). Alternately, you could just pour it onto the parchment paper and later break it up with a knife. That’s faster and I sort of wish I had done that.
Give them a few minutes to harden. It doesn’t take long, but if you touch them immediately, you will burn yourself. Guess how I know?
Once they’re hardened, remove them to a bag to store or to another tray to keep them to cool completely. I feel like I probably should have dusted them with powdered (cane) sugar because they are very sticky. So you might want to consider doing that so they don’t all stick together.
Then they are done! Easy. And they will last. Take 1 drop as needed if you have a sore throat, cough, or feel a cold coming on. Paired with lots of chicken stock, FCLO (there is no current giveaway, but there will be one coming up!), and possibly some fresh juice (my new love), it can help get rid of colds faster.