Imagine your favorite food. Now imagine eating it every day for 5 months. Would it still be your favorite? Emigrants needed to bring enough food with them on the California Trail to last them at least 5 months! What kinds of food do you think they brought? How did they preserve it for 5 months?

Food on the California Trail was different than food today. Unlike today, emigrants did not have access to ice or refrigerators to keep their food fresh. They relied on natural preservatives, like salt and dehydration, for their food to last months on the trail. Many emigrants brought cows, chickens, and other animals with them for milk, eggs, and sometimes meat.

Common food items included:

  •   Bacon
  •   Flour or hard bread
  •   Sugar
  •   Coffee and Tea
  •   Dried vegetables
  •   Citric acid
  •   Saleratus (baking soda)
  •   Salt and Pepper

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