While modern-day Ojibwa eat some typical American dishes, the traditional cuisine of this Native American tribe includes corn, pumpkins and squash, as well as dried and smoked fish and meat. The Ojibwa use maple syrup as a seasoning and to make candy.
As a semi-nomadic tribe, the Ojibwa moved seasonally to be near food sources. In summer, the Ojibwa moved to areas with wild berries and places where land supported gardening. Harvested vegetables, seeds and berries were dried and stored in pits underground. Maple sugar sweetened teas the tribe made from boiled plants and herbs.
In late summer, they moved to areas with streams or shallow lakes where wild rice grew. Rice was sun-dried and then parched to dry it even more, which loosened the rice hull. A tribe member danced on the rice to remove the hull. Cooks boiled the rice and flavored it with duck or venison broth or sweetened it with maple sugar.
Maple syrup and maple sugar were mainstays in Ojibwa cuisine, so they moved to areas with maple trees in late spring. After tapping trees, the tribe used birch bark containers to collect sap and pour it into vats made of bark, wood or moose hide. They boiled it in brass kettles to make syrup and turned the syrup into granulated sugar.