(The following was written by Marilyn Gibboney, and is reprinted from “Reflections”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)
Some of the produce grown was consumed daily, some was preserved, and some sold. The onions were eaten as green onions and some were left to mature for winter eating. The lettuce and radishes were eaten fresh. The potatoes were dug and placed in bins or crates for winter storage. They were sorted according to size. The small ones were cooked with the jackets on. Potatoes were a staple food and prepared in many ways. They appeared on the table at least two times a day. Potatoes were boiled, fried, baked, mashed; and soup was a favorite wintertime dish.
There were so many different kinds of beans, and they were also considered a staple food. There were green, yellow wax, lima, pole beans, and always soup beans. Sometimes these were planted in the cornfield.
There was always a large cabbage patch. Fresh slaw was a treat. In the winter boiled cabbage was served often. A favorite of the Germans was sauerkraut. The cabbage was sliced on a big kraut cutter, put into a crock, salted, stomped and left to ferment. Later it was canned. Cabbage that was saved for winter was buried in and outdoor cellar which was a big pile of dirt in the garden. The vegetables were on the bottom and left in the garden during the winter.
The tomatoes were eaten raw and some were canned in tin cans sealed with ceiling wax. Some of the green tomatoes were also canned. When it was time for the frost the plants were pulled up and hung in the barn by the roots until the fruit would ripen, thus prolonging the fresh tomato season.
My mother said that as a girl they did not grow sweet corn. They ate tender field corn on the cob and also canned, dried and parched it.
Pickles were eaten raw, made into cucumber slaw, made into dill pickles or various other kinds of pickles. The relishes were made at the end of the season. Many of these recipes used up the remains of the garden and use a sweet-sour brine.
During the Hunting season there was wild game to be found in the woods and fields. There were squirrels, woodchucks, quail, rabbits and pheasants. Rabbits were fried or made into ”hase pfeffer”. The pheasants were fried or baked. The feathers were used for decorations.
Beef cattle were not grown to any extent in this area. Beef was available in the stores, but was usually eaten as something special for special occasions such as threshing meals.
(The continuation of this story in the next blog entry.)