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Herbal Candy Recipes

Herbal Candy

Centuries Old

For centuries, herbal hard candies have had important medicinal use: To make the herb palatable and to deliver it to the area to be treated. This is especially important for the mouth and throat.

Strong teas were brewed from herbs, while the addition of sugar made a syrup. This syrup was cooked into a candy that could be dissolved in the mouth. Some herbs have a long tradition of this sort of use: horehound, as a treatment for coughs and sore throats; licorice, for mouth ulcers and sore throats; ginger, for upset stomachs; peppermint, for digestive difficulties.

Basic Herb Candy Recipe

Tea and Sugar Ingredients:
3 cups strong herb tea
3-1/2 pounds granulated sugar (about 8 cups)

Directions:

Mix sugar and tea in large saucepan (use one a lot bigger than you think you'll need - the mixture foams up and could easily overflow). Boil until mixture reaches 292 degrees. Pour into large, shallow buttered pan and let cool. Cut into pieces before it hardens all the way.

Note: You could also pull it like taffy, if you want a softer, chewier candy.


Flavored Herbal Candy Recipe

Herbal candies 3-3/4 cups white sugar
1-1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water (or herbal tea)
1 teaspoon flavored extract (peppermint, orange, etc.)
1/2 teaspoon food coloring (optional)
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar for dusting

In a medium saucepan, stir together the white sugar, corn syrup, and water. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to a boil. Without stirring, heat to 300 degrees on a candy thermometer or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms hard, brittle threads. Remove from heat and stir in flavored extract and food coloring, if desired. Pour onto a greased cookie sheet, and dust the top with confectioners' sugar. Let cool, and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.


Cinnamon Hard Candy

Ingredients:
1 cup white sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon oil
1/4 teaspoon red food coloring

Combine sugar, syrup, and water in a sauce pan. Boil without stirring over medium high heat until it reaches hard crack stage. Use a thermometer or very cold water.

Notes: When you put about a teaspoon in the cold water and let it sit for 10 or 15 seconds you can take it out and it will break with a snap. Towards the end of the cooking time the mixture will thicken considerably and turn a yellowish color. It is essential to watch the pot at this point because it will burn easily and quickly. You may also stir it at this point to prevent scorching.

When done, remove from heat and quickly stir in the oil and coloring. Pour into a 9 x 9 metal pan that has been lined with about 1/4 to 1/3 inch of powdered sugar. Let cool until the edges start to firm up and then immediately begin to cut the pieces from around the edges. Keep cutting around the edges as the candy hardens. Cutting takes practice because the candy can harden quickly. Some just let it get rock hard and break it with a mallet but this makes it harder to control the size of the pieces and also the pieces have sharp edges that can cut one's mouth.


Candied Ginger

These ginger candies will last a long time, so are worth the trouble!

Candied ginger Ingredients and Instructions:

Cut ginger into slices; boil about 15 minutes.

For each pound of ginger, make a syrup by heating 3 cups sugar with 2 cups water. You can substitute 2 cups of honey for the sugar-water if desired. Combine slices and syrup and simmer until translucent and most of the liquid is gone (about 40 to 60 minutes). Keep careful watch on this so as not to burn it.

Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 200 degrees until dry.

Note: It is very important not to become impatient with the cooking process. Keep watching it during the entire time and be ready to lower the heat if it appears to be turning brown too rapidly.

More About Candied Ginger

The purpose of candying ginger is twofold; the process tames the pungency of ginger somewhat, and makes it delicious to eat in larger pieces, by itself and as an ingredient in cookies, breads, cheesecakes, custards, and ice creams. And, since fresh ginger will turn milk sour, candied ginger is the ideal alternative for infusing the flavor of ginger into souffles, custards, and ice creams.

When purchasing crystallized ginger, look at it closely and make sure that it looks plump, and that it has not been treated with sulfur. If the ginger appears shriveled or dried out, you may find that it has a bitter, soapy aftertaste. In grocery stores, the candied ginger is most often found in the baking aisle, or in the Chinese section of the ethnic foods aisle.

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