Homemade Elderberry Cough Drops are immune boosting, all-natural little gems made with just 3 ingredients and in less than 20 minutes! Try this healthier alternative to the traditional store bought cough drops.
How to soothe a sore throat with homemade elderberry cough drops
It’s been a little rough over here. I’ve been sick for the last 2 weeks and that’s not ideal when your job is food related. The last thing I wanted to do was cook or eat anything. Just when it looked like all hope was lost, I got a big ol’ package in the mail of some all-natural, immune boosting, elderberry products.
All credit for this reversal of fortune goes to fellow food blogger and friend, Katie at A Fork’s Tale. She has heard my endless support of local farms, the farm-to-table movement and a holistic approach to wellness and was nice enough to refer me to a farm local to her in North Carolina named Norm’s Farms.
What is elderberry?
Norm’s Farms is a family-owned sustainable farm in Pittsboro, North Carolina, growing elderberry plants through a bio-dynamic, holistic method of farming. Elderberry are tiny berries that taste like a cross between a blueberry and a cranberry and have major antioxidant power. They’ve been used for centuries as a natural remedy for a wide variety of aliments. Even skin wounds!
At the start of each winter season, I take a daily elderberry supplement to help combat any sickness. After busting open the big box Norm’s Farms sent me, I immediately saw the Natural and Soothing Black Elderberry Wellness Syrup. You can take this stuff straight, as-is, and it tastes fantastic! It’s sweet with a slight cinnamon/clove flavor and it totally soothed my sore throat. How much easier would this be to take every day instead of an elderberry pill?
Also included in my gift box was Norm’s Black Elderberry Extract and I decided to make some homemade cough drops with it!
It’s the same base as my recipe for Honey Lemon Ginger Cough Drops and found the elderberry melds perfectly with the fresh ginger. Feel free to use candy molds to make the cough drops or use a silicone baking mat, like I did.
How to choose the best honey
I always use raw local honey in my recipes, because it’s the only type I ever use, for anything. When it comes to honey you have to be careful and do your research before purchasing. Many store bought varieties have been ultra filtered, which removes all of the pollen and means it’s not really honey anymore. They also may contain other types of less expensive sugars, like glucose, dextrose, corn syrup, etc. Basically it’s best to know and trust your source when buying honey and try to buy local.
So next time you have a cold and need some relief from a sore throat and cough, make these Homemade Elderberry Cough Drops!
- 1/2 cup local raw honey
- 2 tablespoons Elderberry Extract (Norm's Farm is preferred)
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- Using a wooden spoon, mix together honey, elderberry extract, and fresh ginger in a medium sized, deep saucepan with heavy sides and bottom. Heat to boiling over medium-low heat, stirring often to prevent burning.
Using a candy thermometer, heat mixture to 300-310F/148-154C degrees, until it reaches the hard crack stage (if no thermometer, test the mixture by dropping some of it in a cold bowl of water and if it harden, it's ready).
**Watch the pan closely, as the mixture will foam up the sides of pan. Take the pan off the heat briefly to allow foam to subside, then place pan back on heat to continue cooking. May have to turn heat down to low to prevent honey from burning.
One mixture reaches the hard crack stage, remove from heat, and allow to cool for a couple for minutes until thickens slightly.
- Pour mixture into small candy molds or drop by teaspoons onto parchment paper or a silicon mat. Allow to cool until drops are hard and firm.
Once drops are fully cooled, dust with powdered sugar, cornstarch, arrowroot powder, ground cinnamon, etc, to prevent drops from sticking together. Store in a tightly covered container in cool, dry place.
- Use a wooden spoon for stirring the mixture because metal spoons absorb heat.
- Use a saucepan with heavy sides and bottom, so it will conduct heat evenly. Also, use a large enough pan that will allow the mixture to expand while boiling and not spill over the sides.
- Make the cough drops on a cold, dry day. Rainy or humid weather will cause the mixture to be grainy and may not set up properly.
- To test if mixture has reached correct temperature, drop a little of the mixture in a small bowl of cold water and it should immediately harden and become solid.
- Once drops are fully cooled, dust with powdered sugar, cornstarch, arrowroot powder, ground cinnamon, etc, to prevent drops from sticking together.
- Store drops in a tightly covered container in a cool, dry place for up to 4 weeks.
- To prevent drops from sticking together during longer storage: wrap the drops individually in pieces of parchment or wax paper.