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Mennonite Seasonings for Soup

A variety of soups was a staple in Mennonite homes. During the famine years or to feed a very large family, soup could be stretched to go far. Often meat would be scarce, so the base was simply water, with added potatoes and if you were lucky you had an onion.
I found the following information useful to make soup from the book Mennonite Food and Folkways by Norma Jost Voth. 

meatball and dumpling: onion, allspice, star anise, parsley

beef noodle: onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, parsley

beef vegetable: onion, allspice, peppercorns, parsley

borscht: onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, parsley root, parsley, allspice, star anise, little red peppers, lots of dill

butter soup: onion, bay leaf

chicken borscht: onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, dill

chicken noodle: star anise, peppercorns, bay leaf, parsley

fish soup: onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, parsley root

green bean: onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, summer savory, parsley

navy bean: onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, summer savory, parsley

parsnip: onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, parsley

pelmenje: onion, dill

potato: onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, parsley

sauerkraut borscht: bay leaf, ginger root, parsley root, parsley, dill

summer borscht: onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, dill, parsley

I had the privilege of visiting Ukraine with my aunt visiting my families homestead back in 2001. Never did I ever dream that one day I would see where my parents were born. The Sauerkraut Borscht wasn't something I had ever had before and really enjoyed. I brought the recipe back with me.

Sauerkraut Borscht

2 lbs. of spare ribs
2 quarts of water
4 potatoes, cubed
1-27 0z. jar or tin of sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
4 medium onions, chopped
1 small piece of ginger root
1 bay leaf
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon honey
4 sprigs of fresh parley
few sprigs of fresh dill

Cut ribs in serving pieces. Cover with water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, skimming the foam. Simmer until meat is tender. (strain broth is you prefer)
Add potato, sauerkraut, onion , gingerroot and bay leaf. Cook til potato and onion are tender. Add tomatoes, sugar, parsley and dill. Boil briefly. Remove from heat and add a little crean for extra richness, if desired. LOAT GOUT SCHMACKJE. (let it taste good).


  1. Charlotte. . hooray .. you did it. . I'm super proud of you.

    The seasonings list is such a good idea. . often I have to think what works best in a dish ..
    thanks for posting this.

  2. I am having sooooo much fun seeing these posts come up one after the other! Terrific...keeping me guessing as to what new memory to pull out of my past and wow...those spices...I was thinking of doing the same thing...listing them!

    Thanks for the borscht...will have to try it...I am game for ANY kind of borscht

  3. Hurrah for Charlotte..thanks for all the soup spice info!

  4. I'm going to PRINT this list to have on hand. Kathy

  5. Both my Grandmother and Mom make a version of this but with pork sausage and without the sugar and ginger. Heaps of dill! One of the family favorites.

  6. My mom used to make a Sauerkraut Borscht and I remember enjoying it a lot. I've recently heard from a dietitian that sauerkraut is an excellent source of pro-biotics, and rich in Vitamin C and minerals, with almost no calories. Do you know if cooking affects the probiotics in the sauerkraut?
    I checked this website to get more info (
    Low in saturated fat
    No cholesterol
    High in calcium
    Very high in dietary fiber
    Very high in iron
    Very high in manganese
    High in magnesium
    High in phosphorus
    Very high in potassium
    Very high in vitamin B6
    Very high in vitamin C
    Very high in sodium
    Very high in sugar


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