What Exactly Is Blood Sausage, Anyway?

It's time we all knew.
01/22/2016 02:27pm ET

If you've never eaten blood sausage, chances are it's the name alone that has kept you away. Not too keen on eating blood, most people won't even consider eating this sausage, which has roots all over the world in various food cultures. Whether you partake in blood sausage or not, do you actually know what it is? Because we're about to break it down for you.

There are two things you should know. First, this is a tasty sausage. And second, yes, it really is a sausage made out of blood.

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Blood is poured during the preparation of Estonian blood sausage in Tallinn, Estonia, on December 15, 2012.

Other ingredients are used to make the sausage of course, and those vary depending on the country, from meat to oats to barley. In the UK, blood sausage is known as black pudding and is usually served at breakfast. In many Latin American countries it's known as morcilla, often times served at a barbecue. In Estonia, it's a traditional Christmas dish made up mostly of blood and barley (see below).

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Women stand behind a pot filled with grain porridge during the preparation of Estonian blood sausages.

But why? Why do we eat and celebrate blood sausage around the world? The answer is simple, really. Blood is a great food binder, much like egg whites, meaning it helps keep the sausage from falling apart once cooked. And ever since humans began keeping livestock, it has been a readily-available ingredient, so naturally it was put to use.

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Estonian blood sausages are ready to being boiled.

In France, where blood sausage is known as boudin, it holds such a rooted spot in the country's culinary history that there is a Brotherhood of the Knights of Blood Sausage Tasting. The Brotherhood holds a yearly competition for the world's best. And since the French are celebrated for their excellent taste in food, this suggests they know something about blood sausage that means it's at least worth trying.

What's your take on blood sausage? Let us know in the comments below.

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