Vegetables gained in popularity in England during the early 1500's. City gardens became commonplace, as well as imports from Flanders.Salad ingredients were rarely served raw. Tudor folk liked them cooked with added sugar (which was quite expensive), oil, or vinegar.Often vegetables would be placed in pottage, a meat stock which had been thickened with oatmeal.
Apparently, Catherine of Aragon was very fond of salad (presumably served hot- didn't they consider raw vegetables to be dangerous?)There are lots of references to fruit in Tudor chronicles as well- strawberries (served with hippocras), apples, etc.
Modern agricultural methods include sanitary precautions not regularly practiced in the 16th century. Today's methods involve ensuring that raw bodily waste material from either animals or humans finds its way into the growing fields or into the water used to irrigate the fields. Cooking fruits and vegetables grown under contaminated conditions would not have guaranteed their safety, but would have somewhat reduced the instances of illness and death resulting from eating such products. Although our 16th century ancestors did not know microbiology, they did know how to put two and two together and to do what seemed to work.
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