One of the most interesting and stimulating speakers at the Oxford Symposium on Food was speaking on blood, and eating it. Now stick with me, we’re not talking vampires and drinking blood, we’re talking using an extremely nutritious product which is normally tipped down the drain, and using it instead of a much more expensive food. Jessica Fagin talked to us about why blood has become out of favour as a fresh product – even black pudding is now, apparently, usually made with dried blood, but not so long ago, it was valued, as every part of the animal was. She showed us an image of people in the C19th lining up at the slaughterhouse to get a glass of fresh blood to drink – since blood doesn’t store well, it has to be stirred constantly to stop it coagulating (or have something added). Her enthusiasm for blood can only be compared (by me) to Lea’s enthusiasm for seaweed, she was positively proselytising, saying why can’t we have supermarkets selling blood, it could be packaged and sold along with the fresh orange juice, and look! it’s got lots of uses – and went on to show us, well that was fascinating. She said blood can generally be used interchangeably with egg, and had the end results to prove it – she’d made meringue with nothing except blood and sugar, and apart from a rather browny/pinky colour, I can say they tasted just like normal meringue. But the best was the brownie, she’d used blood instead of egg, and I have to say it was some of the best brownie I’ve ever tasted. She said she’d previously made chocolate ice cream with the blood, which everyone had absolutely loved, right up till they were told it was made with blood. So there’s some PR work still to be done, but think of the possibilities. And, if you were to bleed live animals, as apparently the Mongols did, bleeding their horses and drinking the blood as they rode them if they were in a hurry to ride somewhere, then the blood is effectively vegetarian [!!!]. But I still liked it at the end, when she asked for questions, and the chap who’d introduce her asked ‘so, all these were done with pigs’ blood, have you ever done anything with human blood’, at which she got very cross, and said now that’s the sort of question I really hate, remember I said blood could be interchangeable with eggs, well you wouldn’t ask someone talking about eggs if they’d ever used human eggs, would you?


So I’m working on a source for pigs’ blood (hopefully, should work out), and am planning to frighten you all soon with gruesome photos. Or, watch out next time I offer you brownie…


  • Wayne Reply

    Have you managed to source fresh pigs blood?

    • admin Reply

      Hi, I found somewhere who will sell it, but it’s a ten-litre pail and I’m steeling myself till I can find time to use it all.

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