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An Anglo-Saxon diet to be extremely different to what most civilization in England consume today: what was consumed was tied to seasons, climate and also what can be effectively preserved. Most world would have actually been practically entirely vegetarian, eating meat a grasp of times in a year, back rearing livestock because that eggs, milk and wool to be still reasonably common.

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Food would certainly largely have been boiled or roasted over an open up fire: in the summer months, food preparation would have actually taken place exterior over an open up fire, conversely, in the winter, people would pack into smoky rooms to keep warm and cook end fires inside. Clay ovens were used for bread-baking and also occasionally an early version that a skillet would have actually been perched end an open up fire to fried food things.


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A replica of one Anglo Saxon home at West Stow. Residences were mainly made of wood, so cooking inside end an open fire could be perhaps fatal.


People would certainly have eaten with a knife and also potentially spoon – hygiene to be poor, and also eating to be much an ext visceral and also messy than it is today. War and disease were all perhaps fatal threats to food production and also growth in Anglo-Saxon England, and periods of too much hunger were no unusual, an especially for the poorest in society.

Meat

Pigs to be plentiful and the only animal the Anglo-Saxons used solely for eating. As they produce large groups the offspring who mature quickly, these animals were the many efficient form of meat production.

Anglo-Saxons additionally ate beef, chicken, mutton and goat indigenous time to time. Beef to be usually booked for the richer tables and also many herds of livestock were looked after mostly for their milk, a very useful resource, and their hides would have actually been turned right into leather. The Saxons additionally preserved goats for their milk production, while they retained chickens for their eggs and also sheep for your wool. These animals were usually only slaughtered once they ended up being lame, unproductive, old or for distinct occasions.

Wealthy Anglo Saxons likewise ate game, consisting of deer, wild boar and wild birds. Hunting for sport – or because that food – wasn’t typical practice, however the elites would have done therefore from time come time.


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A 1908 illustration of beo wolf at a banquet.


Fish

Fish was consumed through many, specifically those who lived by the sea. Shellfish too, like oysters, cockles, eel, lobster and also crab were eaten. Fish to be a valuable commodity as they might be exhilaration or salted and also stored for winter as soon as other food was scarce. Salted fish was thought to have actually been imported native Scandinavia.

Vegetables

Salt was mined in Worcestershire and the Anglo-Saxons offered it both for preserving food and also for flavouring blander dishes favor stew. Vegetables consisting of onions, garlic, cabbage, turnips, mushrooms, beetroot, parsnips, carrots (which were white or violet at the time), peas and beans developed the communication of plenty of Anglo-Saxons’ diets. The unclear just how much was cultivated and how much was foraged indigenous wild.

Vegetables were additionally used come flavour meals together at that time the Saxons provided herbs specifically for medicine purposes. Spices choose pepper, coriander, cinnamon and ginger were used really occasionally in well-off households, but most Anglo-Saxons would not have ever tasted this spices.

Fruit

Fruit was fairly plentiful in the summer. Cherries, berry of all kinds, apples, pears and also plums were consumed by many, cooked with, and also were regularly made into alcohol.

The just other sweet food obtainable was honey and also bee hives were grew in plenty of towns and villages. Honey was likewise turned into an alcoholic drink, mead, i beg your pardon was likewise known as honey wine and would have been drunk at banquets and feasts and also in more everyday settings.

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For 600 year the Anglo-Saxons came to dominate England. This period of English history has sometimes been regarded as among little social development and also the Anglo-Saxons together an unsophisticated people. However, over there is lot of of proof to negate this view, together Dr Janina Ramirez explains.
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Grain

Barley – and also later wheat – to be staples of the Anglo-Saxon diet. Lock would have actually been dried and milled right into flour: bread was offered with virtually every meal and also remained a core part of diet in England until the arrival and subsequent growing of the potato in the 16th century. Barley was additionally used to make pottage (known as briw come the Anglo-Saxons), which was a special stew of grains boiled v vegetables favor peas or beans that featured greatly in the diets of plain people.

Barley was also fermented to brew ale, which was drunk by civilization of every ages and also classes – it was much more commonly drunk than water.

Drink

Ale in various variations to be the drink of choice for most of the population. Water in plenty of places, particularly river water, was frequently polluted as many used rivers for waste disposal. For both adults and also children therefore, ale was your main source of hydration. Kids were provided weak, diluted ale and, if they lived in the right place, spring water. Cider was likewise made in the autumn and consumed through a big proportion of the population.

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In the richer and also safer kingdoms prefer Wessex, food was normally available. Still, this was a duration of continual warfare and the winter months to be harsh – particularly for those not under the protection of a lord. If a harvest failed, food wasn’t stored properly, or a marauding military burnt the crops and also stole the livestock, climate for many surviving the winter came to be a challenge.