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Oatmeal with Fruit

Page history last edited by Chuck Ehlschlaeger 6 years, 7 months ago

Oatmeal and Fruit

In larger Anglo-Saxon households in the 10-11th Century, slaves, freemen, and the household members themselves would often get breakfast from the same cauldron of oatmeal. It was likely that households with cows would also serve fresh milk, and eggs when the chickens were laying. Of course, if milk or eggs were short supply, only the higher ranking members and guests would get the fresh high protein foods that morning. My sources indicate that fresh milk was one of the favorite drinks drunk in that period. Well run households should always have had some smoked cheese or sausage, or dried fish to keep up the energy of hard working laborers. 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup rolled oats
  • 1 Cup water
  • dash salt
  • 1/4 Cup fruit that will store well (raisins, apples, plums stored in honey, for example)
  • (Optional) honey for taste
  • (Optional) sugar, cinnamon

Directions

  • Mix oats, water, and salt putting mixture on medium heat
  • Stir regularly, especially when making a large amount
  • When water has been absorbed by by oats, mix in fruit and spices then serve

Notes

  • In Anglo-Saxon 10th Century, apples trees were twice as valuable as other fruit trees. Even though apples were smaller compared to today, an apple tree would still have generated many bushels of tasty food. It was likely that apples were a regular staple of meals. Ergo, small chunks of apple were probably the most common addition to oatmeal. (Cherries in honey, in my opinion, would also be a well regarded addition to oatmeal in those wealthy households that could afford much pottery.) Spices were probably sprinkled on the oatmeal of the `worthy' members of the household. While cinnamon was one of the most expensive spices imported to 10th Century England, it was also one of the most common.
  • I've stored cherries in honey in the past, but archaeological evidence hasn't found cherry pits up near York yet. (Southern England yes, York no.) Plum stones were found near York: so I plan to try `plums in honey' in June when the Damson Plum are ripe. Damson Plums were brought to England by the Romans. (The skins were used to make blue/purple dye.)
  • I don't recommend ground cloves as the barky flavor doesn't mix well with oatmeal. I'll be experimenting with other commonly available Anglo-Saxon spices in the near future. 
  • One question in my mind is raisins. Would there be enough dry sunny days in the Anglo-Saxon fall to reasonably make raisins out of the local grapes, or would it not even be attempted? Raisins, figs (and olive oil) were heavily imported into England in this period.

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