Horehound Candy

 

Do you remember horehound candy?

I ask because I think that a person has to actively search it out today, whereas in times past it was a fairly common hard candy. 

Horehound is the common name of the Marrubium plant, a member of the mint family. Horehound  has been used for centuries by many cultures to treat just about everything–fevers, malaria, snake bite, hepatitis, bites by rabid animals. It’s useful in treating digestive problems, respiratory problems, jaundice, parasitic worms. It is used as a poultice,  and inhaled as a snuff. The leaves are boiled into tea and made into cough syrups. 

And it’s also made into a candy, but after compiling that list, I kind of wonder why. I guess it’s like medicine candy.

If you are the adventuresome sort, it’s easy to make homemade horehound candy. To begin, you boil several handfuls of horehound leaves in water for 15-20 minutes, smooshing the leaves as they cook down. Then you let the brew sit for a spell so that the water becomes a horehound tea. 

Strain the liquid from the leaves. This is where the math comes in. You’ll need to measure your liquid and add 4 times that amount of brown sugar. So if you have 1 cup of horehound tea, you’ll use 4 cups of brown sugar. Then, more math, you add light corn syrup in 1/4 the amount of the liquid. So again using 1 cup of tea, you’d add 1/4 cup of light corn syrup.

Cook this mixture to the hard crack stage (the liquid solidifies into a ribbon when you drop it into ice water) which is about 300 degrees if you go modern and use a candy thermometer. You pour the mixture into a buttered pan, then score the top while it’s soft so that you can break it into squares later.

And there you  have it–horehound candy. 

 

 

 

Jeannie Watt
Jeannie Watt raises cattle in Montana and loves all things western. When she's not writing, Jeannie enjoys sewing, making mosaic mirrors, riding her horses and buying hay. Lots and lots of hay.

38 Comments

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  1. Never heard of the candy.

    1. You can order it on Amazon and out of those “old time-y” catalogs like Vermont Country Store. My grandparents had it, but I always found it too medicinal tasting. I think it might be an acquired taste.

  2. Our local farm and ranch store still sells this. My hubby is always buying it.

    1. I’m going to seek some out and see if I like it better now that I did as a kid, Tonya. Might be more of an adult taste bud thing.

  3. I have never heard of this. It sounds like a smart little plant.

    1. Isn’t it though? A true cure-all.

  4. My grandparents loved Horehound candy along with peppermint lozenges. It is sold at a candy store here. Personally, I would rather have a lemon drop. I had no idea where Horehound candy came from and so enjoyed reading your blog today.

    1. I agree about the lemon drop, Kathy. That is my hard candy of choice.

  5. I do remember it but have not seen it in ages.

    1. Reading the comments, I now think it might be available more in some areas of the country than others.

  6. Very interesting post! I had no clue how it was made.

    1. It was a surprise to me, too, Melanie. I’m thinking of trying the recipe with mint instead of horehound.

  7. I use to love horehound candy but haven’t seen it in years. Kind of nice to know how its made.

    1. Yep, I’m definitely going to try it again and see what the adult me thinks of it.

  8. Welcome Jeannie, I used to love this candy. I had no idea how much sugar it had in it, but sure makes sense. LOL

    1. It does. I think the plant tends toward bitterness. A little of it goes a long way.

  9. I have bought it at the grocery store, but I haven’t looked lately.

    I think you can get it at Cracker Barrel. I know you can buy it at Lehman’s online and probably at Mast Country Store or Vermont Country Store.

    I use it as a lozenge for a dry throat and coughing, but I use lemon drops more.

    1. I buy Claeys brand. No apostrophe. Looks like I can buy it at the local Ace Hardware store in town. (Quick Google search.)

      1. I’ll look into that brand. I’m definitely ordering some. Thank you, Denise.

  10. I’ve heard of the candy, but I don’t think I’ve ever tried it, and somehow I think I would!

    1. Give it a shot, if you find some. I am. 🙂

  11. Jeannie, my dad loved Horehound Candy. He always kept a sack of it around somewhere. I never cared for the taste myself. I wasn’t quite licorice or anything else I could compare it to. But a lot of the older people used to love it. They used to sell it at Dollar General and some older general stores. I saw some not long ago and I think it was Drug Emporium. Interesting post, Jeannie!

    1. Thank you, Linda. I remember the first time I tasted it, I wondered why Grandma had the stuff in the house, lol.

  12. Avatar

    I’ve heard of it before. I used to see it at the 5 cents country store.

    1. It seems popular at country stores. I think it was a go-to for a lot of people.

  13. Yes I believe available at Cracker Barrel restaurants in their stores – It is good for sore throats – used it many times as a child!! I like it!

    1. That makes total sense, Teresa, since it is medicinal and it’s a proven expectorate.

  14. Horehound candy is my favorite throat soother. I purchased my stash from Cracker Barrel. When we were free to roam about the country 🙂 we’d stop at all the CBs and buy a couple of bags. Hope you find some soon.

  15. Thank you, Lin. I’m on the lookout, especially now that I’ve discovered it’s a throat soother.

  16. Horehound is definitely an acquired taste. My grandmother first gave the candy to me. They used it for sore throats, coughs, and just candy. It is something I have to be in the mood for. I have seen it for sale in specialty stores and old style country stores.
    Thank you for the recipe. It should be easy to make your own mint or wintergreen candies using the same recipe. Will have to try it one of these days.
    Stay safe and healthy.

    1. From what I’ve read, Patricia, horehound is really good for sore throats and coughs. I’m thinking of making spearmint candy, since spearmint has commandeered a large portion of my herb garden, lol.

  17. I’ll have to research this plant. I’m always trying to come up with old time medicines found in nature, that actually work. This would be a good one to add to my repertoire.
    I do remember it.

    I might be old!

    1. People swear by it. I think it’s worth a try. One thing I read was that too much horehound can lead to heart rhythm issues and skin trouble, so take care.

  18. Hi, my husband made it once as a cough drop, only thing was that it tasted burnt, so I think he scorched it. He had actually made it for his mom, and after he made it , he tasted it and he didn’t give it to her. He saved some, so maybe he will try it for a cough. 🙂

    1. Hats off to your husband for making his own cough syrup. I’m impressed.

  19. I have horehound in my herb garden. Unfortunately the seed pods stick to cat and dog hair and pant legs and plants come up a lot of places other than the garden. I used to like horehound candy when I was young, now, not so much. I did make a batch of candy using white sugar, ONCE. I do like to use a leaf, fresh or dried, in hot lemonade with a little honey for a sore throat or cough.

    1. I read that it tends to take over gardens and to plant it in its own little space. I did not know about the seedpods. I have enough of those already. I still might try growing it in a pot to do as you mention and use the dried leaves in lemonade.

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