Make It Yourself: Just Eat Life's DIY Cough Drops
Winter is finally here, folks, and with it, coughs and colds. Yep, I'm ushering in that bad omen. You're probably going to get a cold this Winter season and you're probably going to reach for the cough drops. Sucky, but true.
In our house, there's this tradition where every year right around Christmas time, I get sick with bronchitis and end up passing it on to everyone else in my family. The only catch is, no one else actually gets severe bronchitis; just little colds that last no more than one to two days. So unfair, right?
As I type this, I'm bundled up in a thick pair of Winter socks, a cozy sweater and some sweatpants circa my university days. I may or may not be laying in a pile of tissues. Gross. But I also happen to be sipping on a delicious herbal tea with a tincture aimed at boosting my immunity to seasonal sickness, along with some DIY cough drops. My strategy for fighting my bronchitis this year is to do it naturally. Mhmm, I said naturally.
Here's the thing: most cough drops are loaded with sugars, chemicals, and preservatives (not to mention artificial flavoring) that overwhelm any paltry amounts of natural ingredients the cough drops may contain. They may offer temporary, by-the-hour relief of sore throat and cough symptoms, but they're also treated like cold-candy; studies have even shown most commercial cough drops aren't entirely good for you, and may not actually be effective at all. Knowing this, I sought to make my own healthy, three ingredient cough drops at home this year for a more natural, reduced-sugar way of dealing with my sore throat and nasty cough. Go bronchitis!
The recipe I used to make my own DIY cough drops originates from Just Eat Life, an easy-to-follow food blog full of yummy recipes and light humor. The tea and tinctures I've been using to combat my bronchitis symptoms are the Appalachian Cold Care Tea, Cough Compound Tincture and Immune Zoom Tincture from Wooden Spoon Herbs. Below, I've shared my take on the DIY cough drop recipe and a couple of quick tips on how to get more use out of these unique cough-fighters!
The first thing you should do is check out this video to learn how these cough drops are made, and the ingredients you'll need to make them. To give you a quick rundown, you need honey, peppermint oil, and ginger.
You'll need very basic equipment to make this recipe, which includes a pot, a baking sheet, and some parchment paper. Additional equipment you may need is mason jars for storage purposes.
My Take on the Recipe
I utilized lavender infused honey from a small lavender farm near my home which harvests and infuses its own honey using their small, onsite apiary and sustainable practices. Both lavender and honey have antibacterial properties, making them particularly effective for colds and sore throats. The original recipe tells you to grate fresh ginger and squeeze the juice from it to add to your honey, but I grated the ginger and left it as is to infuse more texture into the cough drops. My lack of a silicone baking sheet meant I had to cut out square pieces of parchment paper to drop the honey onto, but if you make this recipe, you'll likely have to tweak it to fit your needs (and available equipment).
Level of Difficulty?
So I'm really tempted to tell a little white lie here and say that the recipe was super simple to make and wasn't messay at all, but that's not exactly true. I don't have a baking or candy thermometer, so I wasn't able to monitor the temperature of the honey during the cooking process, but my cough drops still turned out as expected. Things got a tad messy at the prep stage when it came to dropping little dobs of honey onto my parchment paper squares, so things were just a tiny bit messy. But if I'm being honest, the mess was worth it.
- Let the drops cool in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes; they will harden up more quickly and will keep their shape
- These drops are perfect for adding to hot water for a quick honey tea if you're looking for a throat-soothing drink
Generally, I would never endeavor to make my own cough drops, but these were seriously simple ingredient-wise and are a wonderful alternative to those store-bought, sugar-laden cough drops and lozenges. The entire process took about half an hour (including prep and clean up) and the results were well worth the mess. Though mine didn't turn out as neat and beautiful as Just Eat Life's did, I would recommend this recipe to anyone looking to DIY their own cough drops for a healthier, slimmed down solution to regular ol' drops.
My [rather ratchet] attempt at the DIY cough drops