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Some of the many varieties of Sausages

A sausage consists of ground meat and other animal parts, herbs and spices, and possibly other ingredients, generally packed in a casing (traditionally the intestines of the animal), and preserved in some way. There is no consensus whether similar products that are not packed in casings, such as pt, meatloaf, scrapple and head cheese should be considered sausages. Pieces of sausage—often not including casing—are a popular topping for pizza in many countries.



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Freshly cooked pork sausages.

Sausage is a natural outcome of efficient butchery. Sausage-makers put meat and animal parts that are edible and usually nutritious, but not particularly appealing, such as organ meats, blood, and fat, to good use, and allow the preservation of meat that can not be consumed immediately. Hence, sausages are among the oldest of prepared foods.

It is often assumed that sausages were invented by the Sumerians in what is Iraq today, around 3000 BC. The Chinese sausage Lchng (臘腸/腊肠), which consisted of goat and lamb meat, was first mentioned in 589 BC. The Greek poet Homer mentioned a kind of blood sausage in the Odyssey (book 20, verse 25), and Epicharmus (ca. 550 BC - ca. 460 BC) wrote a comedy titled The Sausage. Evidence suggests that sausages were already popular both among the ancient Greeks and Romans.

During the reign of the Roman emperor Nero, sausages were associated with the Lupercalia festival. The early Catholic Church outlawed the Lupercalia Festival and made eating sausage a sin. For this reason, the Roman emperor Constantine banned the eating of sausages. Early in the 10th century, the Byzantine emperor Leo VI outlawed the production of blood sausages following cases of food poisoning. Incidentally, food poisoning was called sausage poisoning in Germany.

Traditionally, sausage casings were made of the intestines of animals. Today, however, natural casings are often replaced by collagen, cellulose or even plastic casings, especially in the case of industrially manufactured sausages. Additionally, luncheon meat (such as SPAM) and sausage meat are now available without casings in tins and jars.

The word sausage is derived from Old French saussiche, from the Latin word salsus, meaning salted. The word botulism is derived from the Latin word for sausage, botulus.

Classification of sausages

Sausages may be classified in any number of ways, for instance by the type of meat and other ingredients they contain, or by their consistency. The most popular classification is probably by type of preparation, but even this suffers from regional differences in opinion. In the English-speaking world, the following distinction between fresh sausages, cooked sausages and dry sausages seems to be more or less accepted:

  • Cooked sausages are made with fresh meats and then fully cooked. They are either eaten immediately after cooking or must be refrigerated and are usually reheated before eating. Examples include Braunschweiger and liver sausages.
  • Cooked smoked sausages are cooked and then smoked, or smoke-cooked. They are eaten hot or cold, but need to be refrigerated. Examples include Wieners, Kielbasa and mortadella.
  • Fresh sausages are made from meats that have not been previously cured. They must be refrigerated and thoroughly cooked before eating. Examples include Boerewors, Italian Pork sausage and Fresh Beef sausage.
  • Fresh smoked sausage are fresh sausages that are smoked. They should be refrigerated and cooked thoroughly before eating. Examples include Mettwurst and Romanian sausage.
  • Dry sausage are fresh sausages that are dried. They are generally eaten cold and will keep for a long time. Examples include salami, droewors and summer sausage.

Other countries, however, use different systems of classification. Germany, for instance, which boasts more than 1200 types of sausage, distinguishes raw, cooked and pre-cooked sausages:

  • Pre-cooked sausages are made with cooked meat, and may include raw organ meat. They may be heated after casing, and will keep only for a few days. Examples include Saumagen and Blutwurst.

Certain countries classify sausage types according to the region in which the sausage was traditionally produced. Let us cite:

Types of sausage

Every nation and every region has its characteristic sausages, using meats and other ingredients native to the region and employed in traditional dishes. Poorer-quality Irish and English sausages, or bangers (so named for their tendency to explode during cooking if poorly made), for example, normally have a significant amount of rusk, or bread crumbs, and are less meaty than sausages from other countries, although sausages with high meat content can be found. Bangers are also used to make toad in the hole. They are an essential part of a true Irish breakfast, and are usually offered with a full English breakfast. According to (, in Britain alone there are over 470 different types of sausages.

Sausages may be used as an hors d'oeuvre, in a sandwich (when in a bread roll, as a hot dog or even wrapped in a tortilla), or as an ingredient in other dishes, such as stews and casseroles. The sausage without its casings is served as sausage meat, which can be fried or used as a stuffing for poultry, or a wrapping for foods like Scotch eggs.

Vegetarian and vegan sausages are also available in some countries, or can be made from scratch. These may be made from tofu, nuts, pulses, soya protein, vegetables or any combination of similar ingredients that will hold together during cooking. These sausages, like most meat-replacement products, generally fall into two camps: some are shaped, colored, flavored, etc to replicate the taste and texture of meat as accurately as possible; others rely on spices and vegetables to lend their natural flavour to the product and no attempt is made to imitate meat.

Health concerns

A 2004 analysis published in the journal Neuroepidemiology determined that consumption of sausage during pregnancy is correlated with an increased risk of childhood brain tumors. [1] (

See also


"People who enjoy eating sausage and obey the law should not watch either being made" - Otto von Bismarck

External links


eo:Kolbaso fr:Saucisson he:נקניק nl:Worst ja:ソーセージ simple:Sausage sv:Korv


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