English Medieval Foods

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English Medieval Foods

Postby Keith » Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:54 am

In England only apples, pears, wild cherries and wild rasberries were common. Fruits in general were rarely eaten and were considered "peasnt food."

After the Crusades in the 1200s there were some spices being imported. Only dried figs, raisins and lemons were easily imported.

Foods Not Found
Potatoes (only arrived in 1550)
Blueberries (only arrived in the 1900s!)

Vegetables were rarely eaten and scurvy was a common disease in the winter. The few vegetables that were used (in England) were onion, leek, pea, beet, carrot, and bean.

Meat was the major food item of the day, which included beef, pork, mutton, poultry and fish. Animals were worked to death and then eaten, albeit they were on the tough side. They ate fresher meat on a daily basis since there was no refrigeration and long term storage required the meat be salted.

Other fresh items consumed on a daily basis were fresh eggs, chickens, geese and fish. Pork was a special treat for holidays such as Easter.

All wild animals - deer, rabbits, bear - belonged to nobility. A peasant who "poached" wild game could be slain in punishment.

Medieval homes did not have an oven - rather, they had an open fire which they hung a pot or skewers of meat over. Each village would have one or two bakers who maintained a large oven and he would then sell bread to the community. This was a staple, and was made from a variety of sources. Wheat, because it is so time intensive to grow, was primarily for the rich. Poor people ate bread with beans, peas, or oats. The crust, in all circles, was considered quite unhealthy and was often donated to beggars.

Stews and soups filled out the daily menues. One favorite soup was "pease pottage" - pea soup left to solidify for a week or so.

Fresh foods were only available in the warmer weather and during the winter foods were drawn from storage.

Most spices were expensive and brought in from distant lands. Salt, for example, was used as a currency in many locations. Other popular spices included pepper, saffron, ginger, and cinnamon. Again, these would be typically reserved for nobility.

And, cheese was also available.

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