The Amish people were known for their resourcefulness and ability to make do with what they had. During the Great Depression, when many families struggled to put food on the table, the Amish found ways to stretch their resources and use unconventional ingredients to create nutritious and flavorful meals.

Here are 10 cheap, yet highly nutritious foods that the Amish ate during the Great Depression:


Scrapple is a type of breakfast meat made from pork scraps and cornmeal. The Amish would often fry slices of scrapple and serve it with eggs and toast.



Souse is a type of cold meat dish made from pig’s feet or other parts of the pig. The meat is cooked in a vinegar-based broth and served cold with pickled vegetables.

Dandelion Greens

Dandelion greens, which are packed with nutrients, were often used in salads or sautéed as a side dish by the Amish.

Pickled Beets

The Amish would often pickle beets in a sweet and tangy mixture of vinegar, sugar, and spices.

These pickled beets would then be served as a side dish or used to add flavor to sandwiches or salads.

Pickled Beets

Head Cheese

Head cheese is a cold meat dish made from the head of a pig or other animal. The meat is cooked and then set in a gelatinous broth. The Amish would often serve head cheese with crackers or bread.

To cook these foods without electricity, the Amish relied on unusual methods such as haybox cooking, mason jar cooking, and solar cooking, which is the cheapest one. Haybox cooking involves using insulation to keep food warm after it has been heated on a stove or fire. Mason jar cooking involves cooking food in a jar that is then placed in boiling water, but the best, cheapest, and most effective one is by far, solar cooking.

Scalloped Corn

Scalloped corn is a popular recipe among the Amish community. It is a delicious side dish that combines sweet corn with eggs, milk, butter, and flour. The mixture is then baked in the oven until it forms a golden crust. The dish has a creamy texture and a sweet flavor that complements savory main dishes. Many Amish families have passed down this recipe for generations and continue to enjoy it as a staple dish in their community.

Chipped Beef Gravy

Chipped beef gravy is a savory sauce made from dried beef and a roux-based gravy.

The Amish would often serve this dish over toast or mashed potatoes.

Chipped Beef Gravy

Molasses Pie

Molasses pie is a simple dessert made from molasses, flour, sugar, and spices. The mixture is poured into a pie crust and baked until set. The Amish would often serve molasses pie with a dollop of whipped cream.

Chow Chow

Chow chow is a type of pickled relish made from a mixture of vegetables, such as cabbage, onions, and peppers.

The Amish would often serve chow chow as a side dish or use it as a condiment on sandwiches.

Chow Chow

Cornmeal Mush

Cornmeal mush is a porridge made from cornmeal and water. The Amish would often fry slices of cornmeal mush and serve it with syrup or gravy for breakfast.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the Amish people’s reliance on traditional cooking methods, such as the mason jar or haybox cooking, helped them to continue to enjoy nutritious and flavorful meals during the Great Depression. These methods continue to be used in many Amish households today as a way to preserve their cultural heritage and maintain a connection to their past. They are a testament to the Amish way of life and their ability to thrive even in difficult times.

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