Occasionally, my husband has some trouble with a recurring dry cough, possibly due to a previous bout with pneumonia. After suffering through a relatively sleepless night, he mentioned that he would like to have some hard candy. He has in the past used cough drops to relieve some of this problem, but their taste can be unpleasant after a time. Of course, we had a discussion about whether or not to purchase hard candy, but ultimately we decided to make our own. Having made honey candy this past Christmas, I decided that that recipe would be not only tasty but also soothing to this throat.
You might be wondering if this recipe is truly frugal. I would have to answer, “It depends on your pantry.” If you currently purchase small quantities of honey, then it won’t be cheap to make this recipe. However, if you buy raw honey in large quantities, then it most certainly will be frugal and much healthier for your family members to indulge their sweet tooth. You can either buy raw honey locally or online, but it is certainly one of the easiest food items to store. Too, as food prices rise, having it in your pantry is also a good investment. Just make sure the container in which you store your honey is opaque and impervious to pests; one final consideration is that it is best to store the container in a place where the temperatures will not fluctuate greatly. Honey is an easy way to break into storing larger amounts of food items as it will stay good for a long period of time.
But is this recipe easy? Well, I wouldn’t say that it’s easy, but it is certainly doable by most anyone, even with little experience and with very minimal equipment. In the past, I have avoided making candy of any sort as I just felt I wasn’t up to the task. With all of the different terms such as “hard crack” and my accident-prone nature, I thought it best. Providing for our families, though, often overrides these concerns and makes us a little more brave. My husband was suffering, and I could help him. So I got out the saucepan and thermometer and went to work.
I can share a few tips from my experience, not necessarily about the cooking itself, but rather about making it more pleasant. First, it takes a loonnngg time to get the mixture to hard crack stage, and so make sure you have some entertainment. Personally, staring at boiling sugar is not fun for me, and so I asked my husband to turn on my favorite Star Trek episode. Too, it is hot work. Keep that in mind before you begin. Finally, you may want to have someone with strong, quick hands to pull the candy at the end. My husband took over the candy at this point as he has experience with pulling taffy and seems to enjoy the task. I must say that I was more than happy to hand it over to him.
As far as storing the candy, you can layer the candy between pieces of wax paper, or you can be a bit lazy like me and pour some powdered sugar in a bag and then throw the candy in there. The sugar will keep the candy from sticking to itself. And, I must say, my husband likes the extra sugar.
Although food can simply be sustenance, it can also be a way to show love, especially if it is something needed by our family members. For my husband, this candy soothed his cough and allowed him to sleep through the night. Too, making homemade candy should be healthier than the commercial type. For these reasons, my fears of making hard candy were set aside for a time. I gained some experience with a somewhat difficult task and showed my husband a little love.