I love black pudding and need little excuse to fry some up. Most people eat it as part of a full cooked breakfast but I can eat it any time just on its own. It also has a great reputation as a provider of iron - thanks to the pork blood and zinc.
But finding a good black pudding is a bit of a challenge, as I discovered when I looked at this one.
Hutton's Black Pudding. $3.50 for 250g.
Ingredients (in order of greatest quantity first)
Meat (49 per cent) (beef, mutton, pork)
Blood pudding traditionally contains pork meat and pork blood. In this sausage you get mutton and beef as well. And you only get 49 per cent which means that less than half of this chub is actually meat.
Cereal binder (wheat)
Black pudding usually has oatmeal and sometimes barley as cereals to bind together the pudding and absorb the pork blood. So the oat has been replaced by wheat.
This is for flavour and also as a binder.
This is disappointing because soy protein is often used in processed meat products to fill out the sausage instead of using meat.
Pork blood powder
And here is the pork blood. This is the reason black pudding is high in iron.
This is a processed meat so you can expect quite a bit of salt. You will get 135mg of sodium in a 25g serve.
Not clear what these are but traditionally they would be allspice.
This is a caramel colour to help make the pudding black. Usually the pork blood would be enough to do this job.
Stabilisers (450, 451)
These are diphosphates which are salts of phosphoric acid.
Flavour enhancer (621)
This is MSG. Some people who eat MSG experience burning sensations, numbness, chest pain, headache, nausea and asthma.
The preservative is sodium nitrite (250) which is used to inhibit the growth of bacteria in processed meats such as sausages and bacon. There is some concern that it reacts with stomach acid to form carcinogenic N - nitroso compounds - during digestion so some sausage and bacon manufacturers are using alternatives.
I would prefer a black pudding which was a little more than 49 per cent meat and I would prefer the meat to be pork, not a mix of pork, mutton and beef.
I do accept that a black pudding is traditionally also full of cereals such as oatmeal and barley but I still think a little more meat would be good. I also don't think it should have colouring, MSG or sodium nitrate.
If like me you're a black pudding addict, find a good butcher who makes it or look in a posh supermarket and be prepared to pay twice the price. At least you're getting the real deal.
• Less than half of the chub is meat.
• Uses colouring.
• Uses MSG.