Posted by: briellethefirst | March 16, 2012

Lemon, Basic Cough Syrup


Lemon. Citrus limon. Most well-known as lemonade and something we drip on seafood. YUM! If you are lucky enough to live in the right climate you can grow it in your yard. There’s also a song about it…”Lemon tree, very pretty…” but you don’t want THAT stuck in your head today. You know what it looks like…usually smaller than oranges, oval and yellow. I grew up in Arizona where they can sometimes grow as large as grapefruit, so when I moved to Florida and saw what passed for lemons there…pft! Really!? Sorry Florida, I know you probably grow the good stuff, too, but only offering in the grocery stores the things that resemble yellow Key Limes…really! OK, rant over.

I’ll include this in my Herb of the Week…because I can. My roommate had a bad cough last week so I made this for her. I got the recipe from my kid’s pediatricians. Yes, it has alcohol in it but the heating drives off some of the alcohol and taking it by the spoonful is not like doing shots. Also, this can be taken as needed, unlike many over-the-counter cough syrups that have all kinds of chemicals in them that you really don’t want to take any more often than you have to…and they never last to the next dose! The honey, lemon and whiskey/rum/whatever all have their medicinal functions. Honey is antiseptic, anti-fungal and soothing. The lemon is antiseptic and astringent. The alcohol is antiseptic. They each have more properties but right now, off-the-cuff I’m not pulling them from memory readily. I’ll add more later at the end when I think of it.

I should probably add that I am just a mom (occasionally opinionated), have no official medical training and this is not to be taken as medical advice in any way. It’s just something that’s worked for me so I’m letting you know why I tried it and how I made it.

Making this is easy. 1st you wash a 2 or 3 lemons under the tap. If you like using lemon flavour in things zest them before you juice them, using either a zester or a fine grater like this:

Zester and graters in drawer

Zester and graters in drawer

Dry the zest in a small bowl or plate before storing in a small jar like this:

Jar of dried lemon zest

Jar of dried lemon zest

Now cut the lemons in half and juice them. I have a juicer that catches the juice in a jar underneath, while most of the seeds stay on top. You’ll want to use a tea strainer when pouring the juice into the measuring cup, though, to get the pulp (and any tiny seeds) out. I got 2/3 cup juice from 3 lemons. This will vary depending on the size of your lemons and how many you use. Since the lemons are the really variable part of this and you will use equal parts of lemon, honey and booze, I’m starting the measuring process with the lemons. If you get 2/3 c each then you will end up with about a pint of syrup.

Juicer and strainer in the washer

Juicer and strainer in the washer

Once the juice is in the glass measuring cup add the honey and then the whiskey/rum/brandy (whatever you happen to have on hand). Pour into a small saucepan, using a spoon to get it all out of the measuring cup. Now warm over medium heat and stir it until it’s all combined. It won’t take long and will be a very thin, liquid syrup. Pour into a clean, dry pint jar and keep in the fridge for up to a week or 2. Taking cold syrup feels good, too.

Jar of syrup

Jar of syrup

This is good for all ages as long as they’re old enough to consume honey (children under 1 or 2…consult your doctor) and any anyone who isn’t allergic or sensitive to the other ingredients. I knew a man who couldn’t drink or use alcohol in any way…if he did it would raise nasty blisters like burns! You probably already know if you can use these 3 ingredients, so if you make and use it, do so in good (or improving) health.

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