We're really keen to make black pudding. There are three reasons:
1. We enjoy eating good black pudding!
2. It fits with our aim to utilise all of the animal, nose to tail
3. It makes economic sense not to waste anything.
Right now, when we take pigs to the abattoir their blood is discarded. Hard to believe, but it's true. There are challenges involved with collecting blood, not least those in ensuring it is done hygienically. The days of the throat being cut and the blood collected in a bucket are long gone.
We understand that 95% of the black pudding sold in the UK is made using a dried blood powder. Collected in Spanish, Polish or Danish abattoirs the blood is dried and then, depending on the route to market, is mixed with water, fat and other ingredients.
I'm not sure why the blood for black pudding is no longer collected in the majority of UK abattoirs. I hate the idea of the waste. That said, it does present an opportunity for small producers.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) people in York helped with our understanding of the hygiene regulations and the equipment required at the abattoir. The latter, a hollow knife, allows for the blood to be removed without it ever touching the outside of the pig (it would be condemned by the onsite FSA vet should that happen) via a tube and into storage. It also prevents congealing.
Discussing the hollow knife with a equipment suppliers, they cost around £600 new. That, in agricultural equipment terms, isn't off putting. However, the next challenge is, what happens at the abattoir? Who buys the kit? Who trains the staff and does the task fit with within their current terms and conditions?
After we've addressed all of that we can get around to recipes, cooking and packaging...