Most people think of springtime as a time of abundance but this was not necessarily the case in the 19th century. At this time of year people were experiencing what has come to be known as "Six Weeks of Want." Produce was still scarce from the garden and the stores from the prior fall were growing slim. The sense of doing without, being in want,would be ever present at this time of year.
Many people foraged to tide them over until June when crops were more plentiful. There were wild greens, onions & garlic. Still left in the garden from the prior fall there might be leeks, turnips, and the perennial, horseradish. Pie plant/rhubarb is the first new growth that would be eaten, followed closely, by asparagus.
Hunting was also scarce at this time as this is the breeding/birthing season for most animals and birds. Spring is a good time for fishing however.
Turnips From the Cellar
As scarce as vegetables were at this time, eggs were once again plentiful, as chickens have begun to lay judiciously after a long winter. Those fortunate enough to have a cow old enough to "freshen" (give birth) would be rewarded with fresh milk at this time.
For the next few weeks we will be featuring recipes that the 19th century home would have relied on until their gardens were more plentiful.