Green Tomato Mincemeat, and Other Depression Era Recipes

New York woman offers recipes for green tomato mincemeat, molasses cookies, and one-egg cake that her family used during the depression era.

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My father talks about how during the depression era, his family would eat the potato peelings at one meal and the potatoes at the next meal to keep from going hungry.They collected dandelion greens to eat. They had a vegetable garden and fruit trees.

Here are some recipes from that time:


1 peck green tomatoes (cut up)
5 pounds brown sugar
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons ground cloves
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons allspice
1 cup vinegar

Bring to a boil.

1 pound raisins
1 pound currants
1/2 peck apples (cut up)
Cook until thick.
Put into canning jars and seal.


1 cup molasses
1/2 cup soft shortening
21/2 cups flour
13/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger

Allow dough to stand at room temperature 20 - 30 minutes. Roll out very thin. Cut rounds with floured cutter. Bake about 7 minutes at 350 degrees.


1/2 cup butter 1 cup sugar 1 egg
2 cups flour (sifted)
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons baking powder

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until sides pull away from edge of pan.

Meredith Sorenson
Fairport, New York

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.