My granddad was a great walker. It might go back to his time in the army during the World War II when, well, you walked and had to keep walking. Never an owner of a car, he either used public transport or went on foot – to get a lovely fresh bread from the bakers early in the morning, to get to the factory office where he was the chief accountant, to visit friends and family and, of course, to show his little granddaughter the beauty of nature.
We could walk for miles – through the fields, along the river, up and down the hills. We watched the ice cracking on the streams and counted the molehills. We were spotting the squirrels and feeding the ducks. We were looking for buttercups and gathering catkins. We listened for storks clattering and followed crickets chirping.
Many a times we would pass a field full of daffodils and we always said it looked like scrambled eggs. If we had a bag or a basket we would pick loads of those early dandelions and made some dandelion cough syrup back at home. I never asked why the dandelions are such an effective cure for sore throat and I’m not even sure my grandparents would know as this was the recipe passed from generation to generation. One certain thing was that the dandelion cough syrup was a must-have for all those under-the-weather days.
For a small bottle of the syrup you will need about 250 dandelion flowers. Make sure to pick them in late April or early May as they’re at their best then. And do not worry about your hands getting a bit yellow – the colour will get off easily. We picked ours near a lake and on the edge of the woods to make sure they are fresh and clean. And it only took 15 minutes to pick a bag full.
Dandelion cough syrup
250 dandelion flowers
1 kg of sugar or 1 l of honey or a mixture of both
Rinse and pat dry the flowers. Put them in the pot with the sugar or honey, pour the cooled boiled water and squeeze in the lemon juice. Boil on a low heat until the liquid reduces at least by half and gets thick and sticky. Strain the syrup and pour into a sterilized glass bottle or jar. Store in a cupboard and use as a cough relief.