Black Pudding will always remain in either the ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’ categories. There is, however, one point of contention that generally creates the divide. And it can often determine the category of choice before a pudding is even tasted. Blood!
The idea of eating a food with a core ingredient of blood is abhorrent to many. Fair enough! There are plenty of reasoned arguments for and against doing so and it’s easy to understand why people don’t want to eat it – that debate will continue to rage on!
For those of you who enjoy your black pudding, you’ve probably more recently seen a more specific debate. From what type of blood should your black pudding be made? OK, but blood is blood isn’t it? Well the answer, as far as black pudding is concerned, is NO.
The first consideration is which type of animal blood should be used. Traditionally, depending upon region, pig or cow blood is used. Today’s producers will generally follow those traditions although there are some producers who will use sheep’s blood.
The second consideration, and the debate in question, is the use of fresh blood or re-hydrated dried blood. The rules, regulations and legislation surrounding the use of blood in food are quite complex. We have neither the qualifications, nor the expertise, to get into the detail, so we won’t. We can, however, offer a general overview of the arguments and a few related facts for your consideration.
Fresh blood is effectively sourced direct from a slaughtered animal and must adhere to the following:
It is also a perishable product and therefore needs to be utilised as soon as possible after collection.
Many of the same stringent rules as above apply to the production of dried blood. Obviously the main difference is the raw (fresh) blood after collection is transported to a unit to be processed. There are a number of methods by which the raw blood can be treated and dried. The blood is initially stored after an anticoagulant is added. It is then passed through of the following drying processes; oven drying, drum drying or spray drying. Once dried, the powdered blood can be stored and transported, again following procedures adhering to hygiene, health and safety. The handling of the product though is now easier, safer and it has a longer shelf life.
The powdered blood can then be re-hydrated when required for use.
The majority of black pudding in the UK and Ireland, we believe, is produced using re-hydrated dried blood. And to be fair, most of us have probably been enjoying our black pudding none the wiser as to the type or blood source origin. If you have your favourite, you may be tempted to find out which is used. Will it make a difference to your choice or preference, possibly not?
The point of the article is really to share some facts around a debate you may not even been aware of. It is not intended to influence either way but there may be elements you feel are worth further consideration.
It’s an interesting topic, so we’d like to know your point of view. Does it matter enough to you to find out more and if so, why? Or, are you happy to continue to enjoy the same black pudding you always have? Please contact us, comment below or add a post to our social media pages with your views. We look forward to hearing from you.
And a couple of articles highlighting the contrast between the artisan producer and much larger commercial producer;
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