Friday, October 20, 2017

Just in time for Halloween - Let's Talk About Blood.


Since mankind first started slaughtering animals for food, blood has been a part of our diet. Gross? Maybe. Admittedly, an uncut Black Sausage looks like an unappetizing blood clot. 


Still, blood helped satisfy nutritional needs for our ancestors and can still be found in many diets today. From blood tofu in Asia to blood pancakes in the Scandinavian countries, blood, as an ingredient, can be found in almost every cuisine throughout the world. It is used as a ceremonial drink, soup thickener, and gelled into a high energy snack. 

Where I once thought Black Pudding (blood sausage) was unique to the UK, I've found there are countless varieties of blood sausage consumed throughout Europe, Central, and South America. Think Americans don't eat blood sausage? Think again. Canjun style is called boudin noire in Louisiana and is served with rice. The southwestern part of the United States frequently chows down on Mexican Moronga.

 Historically and in modern day blood is used for more than drinking and eating.

Rumor has it that 16th century Hungarian Countess, Elizabeth Bathory bathed in blood because she believed it would keep her skin fresh and youthful. Now the Countess took things entirely too far as she had over 600 young female servants slaughtered for this beauty regimen. Local Officials seemed able to overlook all the missing peasant girls that went to work in the Bathory household and were never seen again. That changed when she ran out of the local girls, and made the mistake of killing a couple of young women from the upper class. This led to Bathory's subsequent exposure and gruesome sentence. For her crimes, she was boarded up alone in her room. 

We're a little more civilized today but the hope that blood will retain or restore skin resilience carries on. Vampire Facials or 'Facelifts' are a costly fad where blood is drawn from the client, spun in a centrifuge to separate the platelets. These platelets are then re-injected into the face. Most do see improvement but the results quickly fade making it outrageously expensive at over $1,000. a treatment.

More importantly, blood research is ongoing and there's a particularly promising trial with mice. Old mice are injected with blood from young mice, and, so far, results look promising. The older mice show signs of cognitive improvement and rejuvenation. This might be a real boon for Alzheimer's sufferers.

So this Halloween when ghoulish monsters come to your door(or you can wait for the Zombie Apocalypse) offer Black Pudding instead of the usual treats. 

Take extra care stuffing those sausage casings - I've heard it can be a bloody mess and leave your kitchen looking like a MASH Unit.

A Traditional English Recipe
  • 1 quart pig, lamb or goose blood
  • 16 oz milk
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. shredded suet
  • 2 large onions, minced
  • 1 oz oatmeal, toasted
  • a length of sausage  skin to stuff

How to make it

  • Bring a large stewpot 3/4 full of water almost to a boil
  • Pour the blood into a deep bowl
  • Add 1 tsp salt, stirring constantly
  • Strain with a seive
  • Add milk, mix well
  • Add suet, minced onions, toasted oatmeal, 1 tsp salt and 2 tsp black pepper and mix well
  • Fill skins using a sausage stuffing machine or a funnel with a large opening, making the sausages the length you require. Do not overstuff or the sausages will burst when cooked
  • Cut each sausage leaving a length of skin on each end in order to tie them off
  • Put the finished sausages in the water for a few minutes
  • Prick each sausage with a cooking fork and turn them in the water
  • Cook gently for about 2 hours
  • Remove from pot and hang to let cool
  • When cool, slice and fry

Or try this Moronga Sausage from Mexico


Pork skins                                          1/2 c
Pork back fat or porkfat trimmings     1/2 c
Pork blood                                        1 1/2 c 
Tomatoes, diced                              1 1/4 c
Onions, diced                                     1/2 c
Jalapeńos, diced                                1/4 c
Flour                                                   1/4 c

Salt                                                     2 1/2 tsp
Pepper                                                 1/2 tsp
Mint, peppermint, spearmint, chopped  2 Tbsp
Oregano, rubbed                                  1 tsp
1 clove garlic
  1. Simmer skins in water (don't boil) until soft. Drain and cool.
  2. Grind skins 1/8”  
  3. Cut fat into 1/4” cubes.
  4. Mix the meat, the skins, the blood and all ingredients with together.
  5. Stuff loosely into hog casings.
  6. Cook at low boil in water for 35                                                                                                                         minutes.
  7.                                                                                                                         Place in cold water 10min.


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Margo Hoornstra said...

I have to say I cringed a little at first, but kept on reading. Interesting stuff. And recipes too. Not sure I'll try them, but then that's just me. ;-)

Diane Burton said...

Fascinating article. I went to a college run by Polish nuns, so blood sausage was sometimes served at meals. I'd never heard of it before then. Just the thought made me squeamish.

Jannine Gallant said...

Coincidence that the countess's name was Bath-ory? I think not! LOL Blood doesn't freak me out...but I don't want to eat it. I probably wouldn't make a very good vampire...

Alicia Dean said...

Ha, I've always thought I might want to be a vampire, but when it comes right down to it, I don't think I could force myself to eat/drink blood. Blood sausages look and sound disgusting, but then, I don't like any kind of sausage, weiner, braut, etc. (Well, I do like breakfast sausage). I can't even stand my steak with the slightest bit of pink, so I would imagine I would suck as a vampire. (LOL, pun intended!). Fascinating post. I learned things I did not know. thanks for sharing and Happy Halloween!

Vonnie Davis, Author said...

Can I just say, "Ewwwwlll."

Rolynn Anderson said...

Full disclosure. We Scandinavians have blood sausage and blood pudding as heritage meals. Not my favorite, but like Alicia said, when we eat a steak, WE SEE BLOOD...AND EAT IT! I have rule about not chowing down the stomach of any animal (like oysters and such). Won't eat an insect even if it's deep fried and seasoned perfectly. But then I haven't been starving...or so hungry I could eat any protein I could get my hands on. So, I'd never say never...might have to hold my nose and shut my eyes, though. Great post!

R. E. Mullins said...

After working as a phlebotomist for around a decade, it takes a lot to raise my ick meter to gag. However, I'm glad to have given everyone a bit of gross-out for Halloween. Happy Trick or Treating.

Andrea Downing said...

I still have memories of my brother drinking the bloody run-off when we had roast beef in our house. Sorry, but not into it. In fact, it's very high in cholesterol apparently--but, heck, thanks for an interesting article!

Leah St. James said...

I can't even watch blood and gore on TV shows when I know it's fake. I'm with Vonnie. EWWWWWWW. :-) Fascinating stuff though! You made me chuckle as I was wincing!