Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve already been down with my first cold of the season. To make myself feel more comfortable, I’ve been relying on some great home remedies for colds, flu, and sinus infections. One thing that always seems to linger a little longer than the other symptoms is a cough. So annoying! Homemade cough drops can really help soothe a scratchy, tickly throat. And it’s really easy to make them.
How to make your own cough drops
The ingredients are simple: water, sugar, honey, lemon juice, ground ginger, and cloves. Everything goes into a pan and is cooked until it reaches the hard crack stage. Candy molds can be used, but I find it’s even easier to let the mixture cool a little bit and drop it by the spoonful onto a piece of parchment paper. (A marble slab helps the drops cool very quickly.)
The honey is soothing and works as a natural cough suppressant. Lemon adds vitamin C. Ginger has anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as helping keep the immune system strong (source). So add as much or as little as you can handle! The oil in cloves helps fight germs and also helps to loosen phlegm (source).
The drops need to be dusted with powdered sugar, cornstarch or arrowroot starch to keep them from sticking together. Keep them in a cool, dry place and they should last for a few weeks. Dust them again if they become sticky.
Homemade Lemon Ginger Clove Cough Drops
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon or more, ground ginger
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- powdered sugar or cornstarch for coating
- Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper, or greasing very well. A marble slab comes in handy and helps the drops cool quickly.
- Combine the ingredients, except for powdered sugar or cornstarch, in a heavy-bottomed pot or saucepan. Cook to hard crack stage, about 300°F. This may take between 15-20 minutes, or longer depending on the pan and stove. Test by dropping a little from a spoon into a bowl of ice water. If it cracks, it's ready. If it's chewy, cook for a few more minutes. Remove from the heat. Be careful not to let it burn - the temperature rises quickly at the end.
- Let the mixture cool slightly. Drop onto baking sheet into rounds. Allow to cool completely. Dust with the powdered sugar or cornstarch. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from any moisture. (Moisture will cause them to stick together.) Alternatively, they can be dusted and wrapped individually in small pieces of waxed or parchment paper.