Black pudding is a distinct regional type of blood sausage originating in Great Britain and Ireland.
It is made from pork or beef blood, with pork fat or beef suet, and a cereal, usually oatmeal, oat groats or barley groats.
The high proportion of cereal, similar to the Swedish blodpudding, along with the use of certain herbs such as pennyroyal, serves to distinguish black pudding from blood sausages eaten in other parts of the world.
Black pudding can be grilled, fried, baked or boiled in its skin. It can also be eaten cold, as it is cooked in production.
In parts of north-western England and in the Black Country it was usual to serve a whole black pudding boiled as a complete meal, with bread or potatoes, but elsewhere in the UK and Ireland slices of fried or grilled black puddings are more usually served as part of a traditional full breakfast, a tradition that followed British and Irish emigrants around the world.
In Scotland and the north of England some chip shops sell deep-fried, battered black pudding.
Blood puddings are often considered to be one of the oldest forms of sausage. Animals are generally bled at slaughter, and as blood rapidly spoils unless prepared in some way, making a pudding with it is one of the easiest ways of ensuring it does not go to waste.
The earlier forms of this culinary delight, went by many names and traveled the globe.
Some believe this dish travelled with the Romans as they conquered different lands and people, other believe that it traveled within the general population.
Another popular theory holds that it was the Moors of North Africa who followed the Romans into many parts of Europe and introduced them to the delights of the blood dish, the ingredients of which were so readily available to them. Some even think that the Spanish word for black pudding (morcilla) and the French town which hosts the international black pudding festival (Mortagne) are among those that derive their names from the Moors.’
The very first time that the black pudding appeared in literature was in 800 BC, when black pudding was mentioned in Homer’s classic saga ‘The Odyssey’. Homer famously described the way people felt in that time about black puddings, when he famously wrote: As when a man besides a great fire has filled a sausage with fat and blood and turns it this way and that and is very eager to get it quickly roasted.
Later on in the Odyssey, Homer had his champion Odysseus get into a fight for a prize of a stomach stuffed with pig blood and fat. Clearly Homer was a man who liked his black pudding.
As it has travelled around the world, the ingredients of the Black Pudding has changed as the availbilty of different ingredients did. This dish was favoured by those with very little money as it could be made in a variety of ways and had a very high nutritional value. Therefore people would use which ingredients were cheapest and readily available. So in Britain they added oatmeal or pearl barley to bulk up the dish, in Spain they would use rice. As trade evolved more spices could be added and the dish changed again.
While the majority of modern black pudding recipes involve pork blood, this has not always been the case. Sheep or cow blood was also used, and one 15th-century English recipe used that of a porpoise in a pudding eaten exclusively by the nobility.
As a product of the slaughtering process, eating black puddings was historically associated with Martinmas, when the annual slaughter of livestock took place. By the 19th century black pudding manufacture was linked with towns known for their large markets for pork, such as Stretford, then in Lancashire, or Cork, Ireland. By this time, black puddings were generally omitted from recipe books aimed at urban housewives, as they no longer usually had access to home-killed pork, although recipes would continue to appear in Scottish books until the 20th century.
Since the 1980s, the World Black Pudding Throwing Championships has been held in Ramsbottom. The humorous competition invokes the traditional Lancashire – Yorkshire rivalry, with participants throwing the black puddings at piles of Yorkshire puddings. It takes place annually in September, and draws thousands of competitors and spectators to the town.
In past years the Bacup Food and Black Pudding Festival has been held in Bacup.
In Manchester, it is traditionally boiled and served with vinegar, while in other parts of the country, it is often a part of the traditional full English breakfast.
There is often fierce debate about which items should feature in a traditional full English breakfast today. Some argue that black pudding was inherited from the Scottish and should play no part in a traditional
English breakfast, but a quick look at TripAdvisor reviews shows how dissatisfied customers can be today when black pudding – which was last year hailed as a super food due to its high iron content – is lacking from their plate.
The word “pudding” is believed to derive from the French boudin, originally from the Latin botellus, meaning “small sausage”.
Black pudding is 47% water, 34% fat, 15% protein and 1% carbohydrates.
In a 100 gram reference amount (about 4 slices), it provides 379 calories.
The longest black pudding measures 226.67 m (743 ft 8 in) created by Gmina Radomysl Wielki (Poland) in Radomysl Wielki, Poland, on 19 July 2014.