Horehound Candy

Written by Sarah Provost
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You may think you don't know what horehound actually is, but if you've been walking in meadows, it's probably on your pant cuffs. The horehound plant, a member of the mint family, is one of the most common plants in America. That's due in part to the tiny barbed calyx of the plant that distributes its seed by attaching to animals, your socks, or whatever happens to pass by.

Horehound candy is made by boiling the leaves of the plant to make a strong infusion. That infusion is then combined with sugar and further boiled down until it reaches a temperature of 290 degrees Fahrenheit. It is then poured into a flat pan and scored into small lozenges before it completely hardens.

An Old-Fashioned Cough Remedy

Horehound was used for centuries as a cough remedy, either as a syrup or in lozenges. The flavor is very herbal, and somewhat hard to describe, almost a cross between licorice and chocolate. It's an acquired taste, and those who don't like it, loathe it.

Those of us who love horehound, though, can find it hard to come by. It is most often sold by merchants who stock other kinds of "retro" treats, such as clove gum, root beer barrels, and colored syrup in wax bottles. Fortunately, horehound candy keeps a long time if stored in a cool, dry place. The last time I found a store that sold it, I bought ten pounds.


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