Southerners Used Food Substitutions During The Civil War
Before secession, a typical Southern family’s grocery bill was $6.65 per month. By 1864, it was $400 per month. In fact. Confederate dollars were so devalued that many families could not afford to buy food staples. As produce became more and more scarce or expensive, people had to find substitutes for common foods. Many residents were quite creative, and although most of the substitutes did not survive until modern times, satisfied southern appetites to some degree. Here are some examples:
Meat (at least $20 for one meal):
Domestic animals, crows, frogs, locusts, snails, snakes and worms
Okra seeds that were browned, dried sweet potatoes or carrots, roasted acorns, wheat berries
Herbs, sumac berries, sassafras roots, raspberry, blackberry, huckleberry and holly leaves
Water and corn and molasses, fermented in an old barrel
Milk or cream:
Beat an egg white to a froth and add a small lump of butter, mix well.
Molasses, sorghum, dried, ground figs, honey, watermelon syrup
Vinegar (apple): molasses, honey, beets, figs, persimmon, may-apples and sorghum
Rice, rice flour, cornmeal, and rye flour.
Boiled sea water, or taking dirt from the smokehouse, adding water and boiling it. Skim off the scum on the top and drop in cold water, and the salt sinks to the bottom. The impurities could be boiled off. Wood ashes or gunpowder could substitute for salt as a seasoning.
Source: Varhole, Michael J. Everyday Life During the Civil War.
From: The Civil War Parlor on Tumblr