Saturday, October 23, 2010

Horehound Surprise

One of the herbs in my garden is horehound. This is not a delicious culinary herb; it is a bitter, medicinal herb traditionally used as a treatment for coughs and sore throats.

When I was growing up, this is one of the bad-tasting medicines that my father brought out when I complained about a sore throat. If I had an unhappy tummy, he mixed a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and told me to drink it. This tasted worse than horehound, which at least was in candy form, so there was the consolation of a little sugar. Needless to say, there were very few minor health complaints at our house. None of us wanted to risk the bad-tasting home remedies!

Weirdly enough, I have grown to like horehound (but not the baking-soda and water).

One year, I made horehound candy with my own horehound, but I didn't know that the pieces absolutely had to be individually wrapped. I've made other hard candies before (cinnamon and anise flavors) and they kept just fine in a jar. When I put my horehound candy in a jar, though, it merged into one solid mass in the jar in just a couple of weeks.

This year, I'm going to pass on the candy-making, and just use the leaves for tea. There is a lot of horehound, so I've put some leaves in the freezer, and some are set out to dry.

The job turned out to be a bigger adventure that I expected; when I was out in the garden snipping leaves off the horehound, I found carrots!

The horehound grew really well this year, flopping over the space where last spring's carrots came out. I had harvested all the carrots that I could see months ago, but the horehound seems to have sheltered some seeds that hadn't germinated with the rest of the crop. If I had been a better weeder, these probably wouldn't have made it to maturity!


  1. I have this growing here and didn't know what it was. Seemed too lush to be a wild thing. I love the idea of making candies with herbs, something to look into over the winter. My grapes aren't ripening, but the wild mushrooms won't stop - I am going to take what I can get. Great post. Peace

  2. Ruralrose,

    Making candy from more herbs than just horehound does sound interesting. It's funny that I hadn't thought any further than the one herb! If you try, though, be sure to wrap each piece individually, in case the "merging into one giant piece" is an herb-thing in general, and not just a horehound problem!

    Glad the mushrooms are coming in, even if the grapes aren't. Squirrels got our grapes this year. Hope you are doing well!


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