The first area of North Carolina to be settled by Europeans was Albemarle, it extended from the coast to the border with Virginia. The settlement at Roanoke collapsed by the 1580’s and some time around 1600 Virginians began to drift back toward North Carolina. French Huguenots were among those who moved into Carolina.
The Cape Fear River was settled in the 1720’s by settlers from other colonies and by newly arrived Europeans. By the 1730’s Welsh and Scotch-Irish arrived in the area. The first Scots began arriving in the area in 1739 when some 350 people from Argyllshire stepped off the ship. My own family was probably among them (McDougal, Morrison, Killen, Armstrong, and Campbell). I know they had settled there by 1750, and as they came from Argyllshire, I suspect had arrived much earlier. They settled on the Upper Cape Fear near present-day Fayetteville and Cumberland.
The area was rich in native foods and very quickly was also sown in whatever the Europeans brought over from their native home land. The Europeans learned to prepare the New World foods in the manner of their native neighbors or sometimes prepared them similar to whatever they resembled that they were familiar with.
Food was probably more varied and more plentiful in Colonial America than most of the colonists had known in the old countries.
The following list for North Carolina is from: Stevens, J., editor. A New Collection of Voyages and Travels. 1711. London.
Chinquapin nuts and hickory nuts to thicken venison broth; Chestnuts; Acorns; hazel nuts; filberts; black walnuts
Peaches; Mulberries; Grapes (see blog post on muscadines); persimmons; mulberries; black cherries; raspberries; huckleberries; dew berries, blackberries; maples for sugar; fig; plums; currants; haws; apples – several sorts ; pears; quinces; apricots; gooseberries; strawberries;
Corn/Maize; Rice, cultivated and wild; Wild onions; Pulse: bushel beans (flat, white and mottled with a purple spot on each side), Rouncival or Miraculous pease, Field pease, Kidney beans; Carrots; Leeks; Parsnips; Potatoes, several delicious sorts (South America to Europe and U.S.); Ground artichokes; Radishes; Horse-radish; Beets; Onions; Shallots; Garlic; Cives (chives); Lettuce – curled and red; Cabbage, Savoy cabbage; Spinach – round and prickly; Fennel – sweet and common; Samphire; Dock; Wild rhubarb; Rocket; Sorrel – the French and English; Cresses of several sorts; Purslain – wild, and that of larger size grown in gardens; Parsley- 2 sorts; Asparagus; White cabbage; Colly-flower “we have not yet had an opportunity to make a trial of, nor has the; Artichoke ever appeared amongst us that I can learn”; Coleworts – plain and curly (see blog post on collards); Watermelons of several sorts; Very large and good muskmelons – Golden, Green, Guinea, and Orange; Cucumbers – long and short and prickly; Pompions yellow and very large; Burmillions ?; Cushaws “an excellent fruit boil’d”; Squashes; Simnals (cymlings) – (pattypan squash); Horns ?; Gourds; brake fern; Many other species of less value, too tedious to name
Angelica – wild and tame; balm; bugloss; borage; burnet; clary; marigold; marjoram; summer and winter savory; lamb’s quarters; thyme; hyssop; rosemary; lavender
Many sorts of fish, some known and others unknown in Europe; oysters; crabs; bull-frog; turtles; turtle eggs; terrapin; eels; cockles; mussels; clams; conch; whelk; scallops; periwinkles; shrimp; crawfish
Pigeons and squab (young tender pigeon); Wild ducks of several sorts; Turkeys; Swans; Geese; Cranes “good flesh”; Curlew; Woodcock; Plover; Snipe; partridge; pheasant; moorhen; dove; lark; rice birds; crows “they are as good meat as a pigeon”; large gray gulls “good meat”; the natives ate snakes, probably rattlesnake, and other accounts have said the same of colonists; “young wasps in the nest before they can fly, this is esteemed a dainty” (natives); stingray or skate; wild potatoes (natives);
Deer; Buffalo/Bison; Elk; Bear; Coneys (hares); Rabbit; Alligators; Beaver, especially beaver tail; skunk – eaten by natives and settlers alike; raccoon; opossum; squirrels;
Cattle, sheep, swine, etc. which had been brought over earlier; the natives also obtained these from the colonists;
Salt – processed for seasoning and preserving