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28 November 2011 @ 07:54 pm
...what.  
You know, I just don't understand how it is that bull's blood was supposed to purify and whiten sugar. It must have worked, or people would have stopped doing it, but I don't see how. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND YOU, RENAISSANCE FOOD TECHNIQUES!

ETA: Kew Botanic Gardens, by way of Google, provides:

White sugar was achieved in some areas in this early period by boiling the raw sugar with lime water and bull's blood. The coagulating blood drew more impurities and removed much of the brown colour. It was skimmed, then the liquid filtered, boiled again to concentrate it, then poured into moulds to solidify. They were broken up, redissolved and purified, now with egg-white. After this long process, the sugar was white enough and pure enough to be formed into loaves and traded.


http://www.kew.org/plant-cultures/plants/sugar_cane_food_early_technology.html

That still seems utterly counter-intuitive to me, but okay.
 
 
 
a_t_raina_t_rain on November 29th, 2011 12:58 am (UTC)
WTF?
tempestsarekind: your strange behavior puzzles marthatempestsarekind on November 29th, 2011 01:01 am (UTC)
It's advice from a Renaissance cookbook, apparently. There were, alas, no more details than that.
litlover12: Sc P2litlover12 on November 29th, 2011 01:08 am (UTC)
Ew.
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on November 29th, 2011 01:45 am (UTC)
Pretty much.
Danielle_Pdeleilan on November 29th, 2011 01:30 am (UTC)
NOT VEGAN!
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on November 29th, 2011 01:45 am (UTC)
Hee! I guess they weren't as concerned about that during the Renaissance.
cschellscschells on November 29th, 2011 01:52 am (UTC)
That's very weird. How would you ever think to do something like that???
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on November 29th, 2011 02:10 am (UTC)
I haven't the faintest! I'm constantly surprised by the ingenuity of people in the past, who have somehow managed to invent things like white sugar and cheese.
cschellscschells on November 29th, 2011 03:22 am (UTC)
And could you use other kinds of blood? A virgin's, for example? Would that make "extra" purified sugar (like extra virgin olive oil)??
Thank god for whoever invented/discovered cheese, though. And butter. And bread! Yum!
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on November 30th, 2011 08:21 pm (UTC)
Hee (and ew)! That would have to break *some* sort of law!

Butter is a gift, definitely. I've recently stopped putting it in my oatmeal every morning, but I can't quite fathom toast without it.
La Reine Noire: Vergillareinenoire on November 29th, 2011 02:30 am (UTC)
If you ever do find out, please post it because I can't even wrap my mind around how that is a way to purify sugar. Renaissance people, you are so weird.
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on November 29th, 2011 02:54 am (UTC)
It's so mysterious! Even the further details from the Kew website are still fairly perplexing to me.
Ten O'Clock Medievalist: veggie love now with more kohlrabitarimanveri on November 29th, 2011 08:41 am (UTC)
Okay, blood, ew, but cattle bone char is still sometimes used in the process of making white cane sugar...
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on November 30th, 2011 08:18 pm (UTC)
...I did not know that. How does that work, I wonder?
S. Worthenowlfish on November 29th, 2011 11:06 am (UTC)
Now you can try it for yourself to see how well it works!
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on November 30th, 2011 08:18 pm (UTC)
Yes--I just need to go to lots of butcher's shops and get as much blood as I can!
viomisehuntviomisehunt on November 29th, 2011 06:54 pm (UTC)
Ewwww. I use raw sugar.
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on November 30th, 2011 08:19 pm (UTC)
I would use raw sugar, but it's so much more expensive! I like to use it in coffee shops, though, where it comes in little packets that I don't have to pay for. :)