This week in the Civil War for January 26, 1864
Food And The Civil War

Southerners Used Food Substitutions During The Civil War

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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

Coffee: 
Okra seeds that were browned, dried sweet potatoes or carrots, roasted acorns, wheat berries

Tea
Herbs, sumac berries, sassafras roots, raspberry, blackberry, huckleberry and holly leaves

Champagne: 
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.

Sugar
Molasses, sorghum, dried, ground figs, honey, watermelon syrup
Vinegar (apple): molasses, honey, beets, figs, persimmon, may-apples and sorghum

Flour
Rice, rice flour, cornmeal, and rye flour.

Salt
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

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