10. Foods Processed, Preserved, Distilled or Transported in Ceramics
Gloria London [+]
Efficient and inexpensive ceramic containers were necessary to process and preserve a wide variety of foods for long and short-term storage. The memory of fermented foods, including dairy, wine, and beer that was retained in porous clay walls made ancient pots ideal for making yogurt, soup, and other milk products. The pot walls embedding the memory of yogurt made processing excess milk easy in the absence of refrigeration. Jugs and jars of all sizes functioned as refrigerators and filters for water. Oils, birds, and wine benefitted from processing and/or storage in clay pots. Repurposed jugs and jars can be found in any type of deposit once the pottery could no longer perform its original function. Beer, wine, sugar, sweets made from fruit, salt, meat, rosewater, fish, and animal by-products like fats were at one time or another processed, preserved, or stored in ceramic containers. Memories of foods trapped in the clay pots were critical in the fermentation and preservation of alcoholic beverages in particular. The cooling ability of clay pots may have made them potential containers to transport fresh fish from the coast to inland sites. Beer was a nutritious and relatively germ-free beverage consumed by the entire family.