The ordinary folk of Scotland thrived on this healthy cheap food, the blood pudding, whilst those who could afford it would be eating the prime cuts of meat.
Over the years it has become industrialized and although still popular, it is not what it once was, due to mass production and dried foreign blood imports. Few originals remain.
One of the key issues is the disappearance of small abattoirs across Scotland: The traditional method requires fresh blood from the animals at slaughter and this becomes a critical issue if the beasts have to be slaughtered some distance from the butcher, charcuterie, or curer. The blood coagulates and transportation and feasibility becomes impractical. A generation ago this was a thriving industry with dozens of local abattoirs and no shortage of fresh blood.
Currently only a few butchers have come forward who are still making the black pudding the traditional way to a high standard with fresh local ingredients: some still make it withscottish oatmeal and natural Ox blood collected from local abattoirs and mixed with minced lamb and beef fat or suet, from locally reared animals. They then add a mixture of spices that can vary from one butcher to another and in the end they cook the whole in a black pudding skin until its temperature is over 78 degrees. It can then be treated as a cooked product.
The fresh blood scots black pudding is significantly different from English and other versions due to its proportion of blood, finely minced fat, oatmeal and spices. The English counterpart often has barley, bigger chunks of fat and produces an altogether different regional variety.
It is a popular breakfast dish with a fried or poached egg; at teatime with bramble jelly or similar condiment; and often now adopted by chefs as a very popular and delicious starter due to its affinity with seafood, in particular scallops, to create a fresh regional ‘surf and turf.’