Today I am going to reveal my secret weapon I use to combat my kids' common colds. We had a beautiful October, a real Indian summer but about a week ago the weather turned dull and wet and everyone around me started coughing all of the sudden.
When I had a sore throat when I was a kid my mum always gave me tea and honey, and I do just the same thing. To make it a little more interesting, I've been preparing these honey lollipops for a while that can be licked or stirred in the warm tea. Besides honey, it contains ginger, lemon and thyme. Ginger has anti-inflammatory effect, thyme helps boost your immune system thanks to its antiviral and antibacterial properties, while lemon is a good source pf vitamin C and gives a little sour touch to the taste. Due to the high temperature needed to end up with lollipops, it is mainly the taste I use lemon and not the vitamin content. But you may squeeze a little more lemon in your tea when it's ready. Honey, as I read has been used for medicinal purposes for over 5000 years. i also read that the WHO recommends honey as a natural treatment for cough. No more questions :-)
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Step 1: You'll Need
1 cup good quality honey
1 cup sugar
a thumb - sized piece of fresh ginger
1/4 cup water
a bunch of thyme
Step 2: Prepping
Peel and cut the ginger into small pieces.
Remove the lemon zest, squeeze the juice of half of the lemon.
Remove the thyme leaves from the stem.
Step 3: Herb Infused Water
Put the ginger, 2/3 of the thyme leaves and 2/3 of the lemon zest into a saucepan: Bring it to boil then simmer for a couple of minutes and let it stand so that the spices and herbs can get infused.
Meanwhile, place the rest of the thyme and lemon zest into the molds, add the lollipop sticks.
Step 4: Honey - Time
Using a sieve, get rid of the thyme and ginger bits.
Add the lemon juice, the sugar and the honey to the infused water.
Start cooking the mixture. You'll soon see the liquid becoming foamy. Keep the mixture boiling until it reaches 147-150 Celsius or 300-310 Fahrenheit. This is the so called hard-crack stage, what we need for making the lollipops.
There is an alternative method for establishing the hard-crack stage, take a glass of cold water and drop a small spoonful of the mixture into it. If when trying to bend it, the sugar cracks, it' s ready.
If you are not sure about the accuracy of your thermometer, I suggest to use both methods to make sure. It"s also a good check if you may not be using the thermometer correctly, if should not touch the bottom of the saucepan, otherwise you will be measuring the temperature of the saucepan and not that of the liquid.
Step 5: Pouring
After the mixture reached the proper temperature, pull the mixture off the heat. Let it cool for a few minutes (if you have plastic sticks, a little more) then pour it into the molds. Be very careful, the mixture is hot. This amount was enough to fill two molds and I still had a little left, so I just poured the rest on a silicone mat.
Step 6: Done
Wait a couple of hours (or overnight) until it sets, then remove from the molds. Have fun making and using your lollipops! It also makes an ideal home - made gift.
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