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.