The Origins of Christmas Pudding.
It goes right back to Medieval Britain and it contained meat such as partridge, pheasant, poultry and rabbit, along with spices, dried fruit and breadcrumbs. Sorry, but yuk! Because spices and dried fruits were so expensive, they were only used on special occasions.
The flame, when it is lit, is said to represent the Passion of Christ and there used to be 13 ingredients in this pudding, representing his disciples.
Around 1595, it was renamed the ‘plum pudding’ and typically consisted of eggs, as well as the other ingredients.
Sadly, this pudding was banned, along with Christmas, during the 17th century Britain by Oliver Cromwell’s miserable friends in Parliament.
However, it was reinstated when Charles II became King.
In 1714, King George I decided the pudding would have no meat.
In the 19th century, the pudding became a family tradition in Victorian Britain; introducing the modern version that we know today. In fact, in 1861, in Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, there is a recipe for a Christmas plum pudding which is recognisable as today’s version.
Old British Traditions.
- The Sunday before Advent was the date for making a Christmas pudding. This day was known as ‘Stir Up Sunday’. Everyone in the family would stir in the direction from East to West, while making a special secret wish.
- Adding a silver sixpence to the mix was said to bring the finder a year of good luck. (Assuming they don’t break a tooth on it!)
- If a ‘Bachelor’s Button’ is found in in this pudding by a single man, he will be single for the next year.
- If a not, politically correct name of ‘Old Maid’s Thimble’ is found by a single woman, she will be single for the next year.
- A ring found in this pudding means the finder will get married or become rich within the next year.
- A wishbone found means good luck.
- An anchor charm signifies the finder will have a safe year.
These days, the pudding is made out of almonds, currants, breadcrumbs, candied peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins, rum and sultanas. It is boiled and steamed until ready and stored until Christmas Day. Then it is steamed for a further 2 hours before being topped with either brandy butter, cream, custard or my favourite, rum sauce.
Unexpected Health Benefits of Christmas Pudding.
Helps to keep your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels under control. Dried fruit and nuts are rich in antioxidants which will reduce inflammation and protect cells from any damage from free radicals.
Relieves constipation. Dried fruit is also high in fibre.
Helps to prevent osteoporosis. Sultanas contain calcium, magnesium, and manganese which help to strengthen your bones.
Helps to boost your levels of gut-friendly bacteria and your immune system. Currants have 4x more vitamin C than oranges!
So, if you going to eat Christmas pudding, enjoy. I know I will!
Sources: countryliving.com, thefactsite.com, justfunfacts.com, tenrandomfacts.com, whychristmas.com, pudforallseasons.com.au, express.co.uk