Travel food in Viking Age
Vikings going on a journey or voyage surely took with them different foods to eat during the trip.
On a voyage, the ship would have been loaded with chests, barrels, baskets, food boxes, pots and jug. When travelling on horseback the food would have been carried in saddle bags or woven baskets, while the Viking on foot is likely to have had his food in a knapsack.
Eggs, fish and meat was preserved using salt. When it comes to bread, flat and unfermented bread could keep for months, whereas oven-baked bread would go mouldy. Suitable food to bring on a journey may have been:
- Solæg (Eggs in brine)
- Salted herrings
- Salted, dried or smoked meat
- Lamb sausages
- Ship's biscuits
- Rye loaf
- Butter and cheese
- Fresh or dried fruits
A little salt
Dice the smoked pork and fry it on a hot pan. Add chopped onion and keep cooking until golden. Transfer the bacon and onion to a bowl and mix with whey, salt, barley flour and wheat meal. Form the dough into balls and then into flat breads. Bake the biscuits on a dry pan over the fire until they are completely dry and hard.
These biscuits hold vitamins, minerals, fats and can be stored for a longer time. The acidulous whey has a preserving effect.
Salted and dried let of a lamb
In Autumn when the lambs are being slaughtered, the legs are salted down. Store them somewhere cold and dry until Spring, when the weather is more dry.
Then remove the legs and rinse off most of the salt. Hang them to dry in an airy, shady place until they have dried completely. Remember to hang the legs where cats and other animals won't be able to get to them. Flies are another problem: Come summer it's a good idea to keep the legs in a pantry.
Cut very thin slices to serve.
Ribe VikingeCenter's 2012 project 'Nordic food is Viking food' is supported by Region Syddanmark