The Anglo-Saxon and Viking diets were probably very similar.
The Vikings probably ate more meat. Both farmed the land, kept some livestock and hunted and fished for their food. More
Lack of food in Scandinavia saw the Vikings raid Europe.
One of the reasons that the Vikings raided Europe in the first place was that they found it difficult to produce enough food for their needs in the harsher climate of Scandinavia (Norway, Denmark and Sweden). More
The Anglo-Saxon diet appears to have been wholesome (good for you) and varied.
Adding variety to the diet were eggs, milk and cheese, as well as nuts, fruit and fungi in season. More
Vikings often absorbed the cultures of others and made best use of foods available.
Their influence is probably best seen in the Scottish diet and, to a lesser extent, that of Northern England. More
Honey was used for sweetening foods and making mead.
Sugar had not been discovered in the time of the Anglo-Saxons or Vikings, so they sweetened their puddings with honey and dried fruits. Honey was also fermented to make their most important drink - mead. More
Drying and salting were the main ways of preserving foods.
A great deal of food was dried and stored for the coming winter. Salted meat and fish added variety to the diet in winter, when fresh meat was not available. More
A lot of cooking may have been done outside.
Most homes had an open fire in the middle of their one room, and there was always a risk of the wooden buildings catching fire. More
The main crops grown by the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings were wheat, barley and rye.
This has been deduced from careful examination of pollen and carbonised grain from middens (toilet areas). This was also grown over much of Europe at this time. The main type of wheat grown was spelt wheat (Triticum spelta). More
Cereal crops were used in a variety of ways to make both food and drink.
Rye and barley were grown for grain to make flour or fermented to produce beer. They would also be boiled and eaten in soups and stews. More
Other foods were either grown in the village plots or collected from the wild.
It is not clear if root crops, like onion and white carrot (a pale parsnip variety of carrot), were cultivated or if they grew wild and were collected. More
Many more plants were used for food than are eaten today.
Many foods would be cooked in water in a large pot or cauldron over a fire.
They would also have had simple clay ovens for baking bread. Other foods such as small cakes or pancakes would have been cooked on a big iron skillet, or hanging griddle, over an open fire. More
It is thought that Anglo-Saxons ate a lot of bread. It was served with almost every meal.
Bread was made from wheat, rye or mixtures of rye and barley. At times of bad harvest, acorns and beans would be added to the grains to make a coarse bread. At first, the grain would have been ground using small rotary querns; later, this period saw the development of water mills for grinding corn. More
Some spices would have been known to them and used on special occasions.
The seafaring Vikings traded across a great area and spices would have been known to them. The Anglo Saxons were farmers, but they traded too and a well-off farmer might have used spices, such as cinnamon, on special occasions. More
Saxon meals would have been fairly simple but there would be feasts on special occasions.
Meals for a typical Anglo-Saxon farmer would have included rye bread, cheese, skimmed milk, watery ale or mead in the morning and, in the evening, a stew of beans and vegetables with perhaps a little meat added to the cooking pot. More
In the Viking communities, the main meal of day was eaten at nightfall.
The Vikings would have been up and at work many hours before returning for a breakfast of barley or oatmeal porridge and buttermilk, together with crusty loaves of barley and rye. For the main evening meal, some kind of roasted or boiled meat would be included. More
The Anglo-Saxons and Vikings ate from wooden bowls using spoons, knives and their fingers.
Food was washed down with mead or beer from tankards or drinking horns. Utensils would have been simple but the Saxons and Vikings were also skilled at crafts and a feast would have looked very special. More