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Because they were working through the day and only stopped when the daylight faded the Vikings would have their main meals at evening time. A typical evening meal for the Vikings would have very similar elements to an evening meal of today - meat or fish, vegetables and herbs or spices.

 

The major difference would be in how these ingredients were gathered. Where we can simply go to the supermarket and buy everything we need the Vikings had to either hunt, fish or grow all of their own food.

The Vikings were very good hunters and would hunt a huge variety of animals: bears, deer, elk, wild boar, seals and even whales. They would trap hares and ducks. They fished on the shore and in fresh-water rivers for fish and eels. Add to these meats the domestic animals that were bred for eating and they had no shortage of choice when it came to the meat course.

Vegetables were grown by farmers and regular folk alike - the most common of these were cabbage and peas.

 

They would also use the many plants that grew wild around them - horseradish, blackberries, plums and apples, and even pine needles were used when nothing else could be found. Garlic and onions were commonly used. Rich Vikings were also able to buy spices from far-away lands to add extra flavour to their meals.

Bread was baked by most Vikings - barley for the common people and imported British wheat for the rich. The bread would be kneaded in long wooden troughs and then baked over an open flame on a griddle.

All of the cooking was done over an open fire in the middle of the room. This meant that meat was either roasted on a spit or stewed in a cauldron hanging from a tripod.

The Vikings also had to be prepared for the long, cold winters when food would be in short supply so they were experts at preserving their meat and fish by either hanging it out in the wind to dry or pickling it in salt water. They would also smoke meat and fish to preserve it - easily done because their houses were always smoky from the fire in the middle!

Did you know? Salt would be extracted from sea water by boiling it . This was a tedious job and so would normally be done by slaves.

Most people would drink weak beer throughout the day - even children! This is because water could not always be guaranteed to be clean and safe to drink. At night they would drink stronger beer with their meals. Richer families would have imported wine with their meals, too, but this would probably only be drunk on special occasions and religious festivals.

The Viking diet was very meat heavy - they were probably often constipated!

Peas Whale Deer Bear Boar Seal Cabbage Elk Bread