Make your own cough drops
These antiviral lozenges help to soothe sore throats and ease tickly coughs
5cm piece of fresh ginger, sliced 1 tbsp whole cloves 4 tbsp dried elderflowers (or 5 fresh elderflower heads, main green stalks removed) Elderflower cordial (optional) 400g unrefined sugar 250ml honey Juice of ½ lemon Icing sugar, to dust or for covering
1 Take a very large, heavy based saucepan (2-litre capacity is ideal). Put the spices into the pan with 300ml water. Bring gently to boil, then simmer, covered, for 10 mins.
2 Remove from the heat and add the fresh or dried elderflowers, set aside to infuse for 20 mins.
3 Strain the liquid into a heatproof jug and measure it – you’ll need 250ml of the infusion for this recipe (if it needs topping up use water or elderflower cordial for extra flavour). Return the 250ml liquid to the pan and then add sugar, lemon juice and honey.
4 Carefully heat until the mixture comes to a gentle rolling boil. Continue boiling gently until the sugar reaches hard crack stage (149–154C on a sugar thermometer), about 15–20 mins. This is the point at which a drop of liquid turns to brittle strands when dropped into chilled water (caution: the liquid is extremely hot). Take off the heat.
5 Drop teaspoonfuls onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper and leave to set. Then, once hardened, sprinkle with icing sugar to prevent them sticking together.
6 Suck one sweet as needed. Store wrapped in greaseproof paper individually or covered in a thick layer of icing sugar in an airtight container.
Taken from The Handmade Apothecary by Vicky Chown and Kim Walker (Kyle Books). Photography: Sarah Cuttle