[Sca-cooks] potted foods

Stefan li Rous StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
Tue Aug 31 15:48:23 PDT 2010

> Other ideas, experiences, recipes, and sources?
> David/Cariadoc

Have you looked at potting? Covering cooked, chopped meat in
a layer of butter or other fat? I've used that and kept meat at
room temps for extended periods with no real harm. Another
preservation method is to submerge meats in honey. 
I once taught a class in non-smoked or salted meat preservation


Potted foods are period, or at least very late period. This gets into whether you want to be strictly period or period-like and safe.

Around the 1550s they found that food could be kept if you cooked it and then filled in the rest of the container with fat to seal it. Cooking the food sufficiently kills the bad stuff and sealing it with fat keeps more contaminants from the air out. Unfortunately, it was common to let the food cool off before topping it off with fat, thus allowing the food to get contented before being sealed, and thus creating an even better environment for the bad beasties to grow in, unseen. It wasn't until around 1600 that it became more apparent that better results occurred if they poured in the fat while the food was still hot.

I believe it is this book which has a lot more info about period potted foods.
"Waste Not, Want Not': Food Preservation from Early Times to the Present Day (Food and Society Series)
Wilson, C. Anne (Editor)
ISBN: 0-7486-0119-8
Edinburgh Univ Press
April 1992

So you could do potted foods, but I would recommend sealing the food while it was still hot.

potted-foods-msg (16K) 5/21/04 Cooked foods put in pots and sealed w. fat.

(Please note, this is different from a pot-luck meal. That is in a different file :-) )

Other than using boiling water and modern containers, home canning uses similar principles. There are a number of modern books with more detailed directions on how to do this but here is some overview and how it can be used in the SCA.
canning-msg (52K) 6/17/09 Use of canning in the SCA. Directions.

THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
   Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas          StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
**** See Stefan's Florilegium files at:  http://www.florilegium.org ****

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