Buck's objective for this column will be to provide you with correct edibles for your persona, with period name reference to today's terminology of the same or similar product. Having spent years researching what was available and when, he has a wealth of information on edibles grown (cultivated) or found along the trails in the wilderness (foraged). Buck will also provide us with correct recipes, measurements then and now and anything else that deals with what you will eat. In the future he will provide along with the edibles of the day a few ideas for camp equipage. This should be a source that you will print and make notes as to what you and your family like and will use in your next outings, have fun.




These herbs are used as medicine, seasonings or just for decoration; all have been dated earlier than 1800.

  • Agronomy/American Pennyroyal: Listed in history as an American Indian herb, used for insect repellent.

  • Basil/Brunet: A well known pair of herbs, known to provide an aromatic relief for the nose.
  • Butterfly Weed: Same as above.
  • Caraway: Has some medical uses, licorice taste used on rye bread by early colonists.
  • Chives: A flavoring for soups, breads, salads, etc. by Native Americans and colonists.
  • Coriander, Dill: Flavoring or seasoning.
  • Garlic Chives: Member of the onion family, used for seasoning in soups and salads.
  • Horehound: Used in teas, candy for sore throat problems.        
  • Sweet Cicely: Licorice flavor used in cooking for seasoning.
  • Sweet Marjoram: Old medical herb, used for colds in soup and stews.

Columbine, elecamane, feverfew, hollyhock, job’s tear, lark spur, lunaria, thin-leafed coneflower, these are all decoration plants and not to be used internally by all means.


  • Baldwin Woodpecker: Found in history around the mid 1700’s in southern part of Massachusetts.
  • Black Gilliflower Sheepnose: American grown, found in Connecticut around 1800 and listed in 1817.
  • Cox’s Orange Pippin: Came to the colonies from Bucks, England, seeds only brought in 1827.
  • Fameuse-Snow Apple: From Canada originally brought there by seed from France around 1600.
  • Jonathan: A New York farm apple grown as early as 1800.
  • Smokehouse: Lancaster County, Pa., medium to large in size, good for cooking, listed in 1801.

The list of grains, vegetables, herbs and apples are not complete, that would take a book with many volumes. This was just a list of the more popular items, listed in a simple way to give the new and the seasoned re-enactor an idea of the large amount of available edibles for different time frames.



Approximate documented and dated items grown or traded in North America, we have found something’s earlier than listed, but not that common for the working class or local trade.

Pa. German - before 1750          *           Before 1800 - trade item            **                                              Northeast - before 1820     @         Southwest - before 1830            #

Native American-found in early settlements  ~


Grains & Seeds

  • Wild rice (lg. broken)  **   Barley-pearled     *     Lentils   *
  • Split peas-yellow   *  Split peas-green  *   Corn yellow  *
  • Blue Parched corn   ~    



  • Barley   *  Buckwheat   *   Rye  *    Wheat   *  Corn  *


  • Frybread Mix     **         Sweet Pumpkin   ~

Cereals & Meals

  • Barley grits  *    Corn grits  *      Oats-steel cut  *    Wheat-coarse   *    Corn meal  *   Blue corn meal   ~  

Herbs & Spices

  • Cayenne pepper *   Cinnamon sticks   *     Garlic-granules   *    Ginger root-dried    *  Nutmeg-whole *   Rose hips-seedless *


  • Walnut oil-haines   *


  • French:  La Compagnie - Vanilla bean was a favorite of the officers on New France. A blend of coffee and vanilla for a correct drink fitting 1670-1800.
  • Spanish: Santa Fe Trail - Used through out the S/W of N. America, a blend of coffee and chocolate. 1760-1830.
  • English:  From the Colonies (manuf in N.Amer.) - A collection of beans and nuts blended to the common man’s taste. Used through out the colonies. 1610-1810.
  • Coffee Beans (Green /not roasted) - These coffee beans have been imported from the coffee capitals of the world, for centuries by the English, French, Spanish and American ships, taken to their home ports.


  • Brick single-tile;   *    Pressed cured blocks of tea, from Yunnan province, used as a currency for hundreds of years, traded in Europe and N. America in the earliest markets known.
  • Gun powder;   *    Course granulation tea that resembles cannon powder, a quarter teaspoon in a 1/2 pt of boiling water produces a pleasant cup of tea.
  • Hyson;   *     Small leaf green tea, name means “bright spring”, a good period tea for any camp.
  • Bohea;  *     Black orange pekoe, many recipes for this tea can be found through out history, was a very popular trade item, found on most supply lists.
  • China Black;  *    The tea that started the “Tea Trade” in Europe and is still a leader today, in markets around the world.


  • Maple sugar       **   Maple sugar (cake)         **  
  • Cone sugar-piloncillo **  “Hat” of sugar **  Havana Brown sugar  #  Chocolate (ibarra) #  Muscavado (in corn husk or in the cone)  **


      The term “I’ll eat my “hat” originated from the sugars wrapped in blue papers. The piloncillo and ibarra are still molded in the same design form as the originals in a museum in Santa Fe, NM.



  • Sea salt (sun dried)       **       Orsa salt (sun dried)          **

Dried Fruit

  • Apples (unsulphered)    *        Peaches   * 

Dried Meat (jerky)

  • Buffalo   **                    Elk        **

(* most game meats would have been jerked)


See you in a few months


documented facts pertaining to periods & availability of foods.

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