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Elizabethan Foods from the New World

Queen Elizabeth Ist

"Queen Elizabeth Ist"

Elizabethan Times - the Spice Trade
The Spice Trade was extremely important. Oriental spices constituted the most profitable and dynamic element in European trade and this drive for profit through new spices ( as well as the quest for gold and silver) encouraged the explorations of Elizabethan seamen such as Raleigh and Drake. Until the discoveries  of the Elizabethan Explorers Italy played the most dominant role in the supply of spices to England from the Far East countries.

The voyages of the Spanish and the Portuguese to the Americas ensured that they would play an important part in the spice trade from the New World. t was essential for the economy of England that they would also be included in the search of the new found spices and other treasures from the New World. For specific facts and information about America please refer to Colonial America .

Demand for Elizabethan Foods from the New World
The demand for the spices and new foods were huge but only from the Elizabethan Upper Classes. The prices of Sugar and Spices were extremely high and could not be afforded by the lower classes. The use of Spices in Elizabethan cooking recipes therefore became a matter of both social fashion and social prestige. Spices used in Recipes from the Elizabethan Era were a sign of wealth and high social status. The reason for the high prices were due to the cost of transportation and distribution and for the monopolies held by various countries. It was hoped that similar spices found in the East would be found in the new lands of the Americas.

Elizabethan Foods from the New World introduced during the Elizabethan era
Imported sugar and spices including pepper, cloves, and cinnamon explains the taste for sweet and spicy flavors of Elizabethan food. The early Crusaders brought to England elements of Eastern cookery requiring spices such as cinnamon, ginger, cloves, raisins, and sugar. But during the Elizabethan era explorations to the New World brought a whole new range of foods to satisfy the Elizabethans taste for sweet and spicy food. Some of the foods introduced from the New World were as follows:

  • Tomatoes

  • Turkey

  • Potatoes

  • Maize

  • Vanilla

  • Kidney Beans

  • Pineapples

  • Lima Beans

  • Peanuts

  • Tapioca

  • Corn

  • Pumpkin

  • Avocado

  • Pecan

  • Cashew

  • Pineapple

  • Squash

  • Coffee*

  • Chocolate*

  • Chilli peppers including red peppers, cayenne, paprika and chilli

  • Tea* was introduced by Jesuit priest who had travelled to the Far East

* Elizabethans did not drink their beverages hot. Chocolate, coffee and tea were used as medicines in the Elizabethan period.

One of the most sought-after spices was pepper. The discovery of Chilli peppers  including red peppers, cayenne, paprika and chilli in the New World must have been highly encouraging for the Elizabethan Explorers.

Elizabethan Food
Elizabethan Era Index

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