How the Amish Thrived During the Great Depression

How the Amish Thrived During the Great Depression

The Great Depression: A Challenging Time

The Great Depression was a time of economic hardship and scarcity in the United States, and many families struggled to make ends meet. Jobs were scarce, savings were wiped out, and people had to get creative with whatever resources they had. One group of people who managed to thrive during this difficult time were the Amish.

The Amish Way of Life

The Amish are a group of traditionalist Christian church fellowships known for their simple living, plain dress, and reluctance to adopt many conveniences of modern technology. They rely on a strong sense of community and a self-sufficient lifestyle to meet their needs.

During the Great Depression, the Amish way of life proved to be a valuable asset. With their emphasis on resourcefulness and sustainability, they were able to navigate the economic challenges in a way that set them apart from the rest of society.

Homesteading and Self-Sufficiency

One of the key factors that allowed the Amish to weather the Great Depression was their commitment to homesteading and self-sufficiency. They grew their own food, raised livestock, and practiced the art of canning and preserving. This allowed them to have a steady supply of nutritious meals even when food was scarce in the markets.

The Amish were well-versed in the art of gardening, and their farms provided a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains. They utilized techniques such as crop rotation and composting to ensure the fertility of their soil and maximize their harvests.

In addition to plant-based foods, the Amish also raised animals for meat, eggs, and dairy products. Cows provided milk and cheese, chickens laid eggs, and pigs and chickens were raised for meat. By raising their animals, they had a constant source of protein and other essential nutrients.

TIP: Growing your own food is not only a cost-effective way to meet your nutritional needs, but it also allows you to have more control over the quality of the food you consume. Consider starting a small garden or even growing some herbs on your windowsill.

The Art of Preservation

Preserving food was a common practice for the Amish, and it played a vital role during the Great Depression. By canning fruits and vegetables, pickling cucumbers, and making jams and jellies, the Amish were able to extend the shelf life of their harvests and enjoy homegrown flavors all year round.

Another popular preservation method used by the Amish was drying. They would hang herbs, fruits, and vegetables to dry, which preserved the flavor and allowed them to be used in soups, stews, and other dishes during the winter months.

Meats were preserved through smoking, salting, and canning. By using these methods, the Amish were able to store meat for extended periods without the need for refrigeration.

TIP: Preservation techniques such as canning, drying, and smoking can be easily practiced at home. By preserving surplus produce or buying in bulk during sales, you can have a stockpile of nutritious food that will last you through tough times.

Simple, Nutritious Meals

The Amish were experts at turning simple ingredients into hearty and nutritious meals. They made the most out of what they had, turning humble ingredients into delicious dishes that provided sustenance and nourishment.

Cooking skills were passed down through generations, and the Amish knew how to make do with the staple ingredients available. Dishes like soups, stews, casseroles, and homemade bread were common in Amish households during the Great Depression. These meals were not only filling but also provided a wide range of nutrients.

The Amish also made use of offal and other lesser-known cuts of meat. They knew how to prepare and cook these cuts in a way that made them not only palatable but also delicious.

TIP: Learn how to cook with simple, inexpensive ingredients. Mastering a few basic cooking techniques and creating meals from scratch will not only save you money but will also ensure you have nutritious meals even when resources are limited.

My 2 Cents

The Amish showed remarkable resilience and resourcefulness during the Great Depression. Their commitment to self-sufficiency, homesteading, and preservation allowed them to overcome the scarcity and economic challenges of the time.

Incorporating some of the Amish practices into our own lives can be beneficial, even in times of abundance. Growing our own food, preserving surplus produce, and cooking with simple ingredients can help us save money, reduce waste, and have more control over the quality of the food we consume.

Let’s take inspiration from the Amish and embrace the values of resourcefulness, sustainability, and community. By doing so, we can strengthen our own resilience and become better equipped to face any challenges that come our way.