The children are back at school in the village; with my windows open as I write I can hear them at play times and dinner times, and i can hear them singing when their windows are open. I guess it’s not surprising that hearing them at school makes me think back to my early school days, and from those memories back to other aspects of my childhood. One thing I think that none of those young people and I have in common (among many) is malt…

Here’s something I wrote last year:

It’s not just these days that people are conscious of their health and want to stay fit and well – I’m sure it has always been the case and there are so many sayings like ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ which reflect this. I’m not sure when taking malt as a health supplement first started but when my dad Donald was at school children took in a penny a day and a spoon and they had that spoon dipped into a big stone pitcher of malt, which was twiddled to catch the drips so it looked like a big fat shiny brown lollipop.

Donald was not a fussy eater as a child – he once pinched some eggs from the kitchen larder and ate them to see what raw eggs tasted like – he was amazed that his mother knew that he was the one who had done. His mum, my grandma Maudie would have known that neither of Donald’s siblings who were older would have done it, and also she found the empty egg shells bobbing about in the lavatory where he had tried to flush away the evidence, not realising that the shells would float. Unfortunately for Donald he always had a violent reaction to the malt his school friends enjoyed; he tried on so many occasions, taking in his spoon and his penny, but it actually made him physically sick…

When i was a child we didn’t have malt in school but we did have it at home; it was mixed with cod liver oil (sounds disgusting doesn’t it) and my sister and I would have a spoonful every morning. Like Donald’s school friends we loved it, however when I remembered this as an adult and bought a jar, thinking it would do me good, the actual smell of it made me gag! We also used to have Soreen malt loaf which was sticky and delicious – luckily it is still available and still sticky and delicious!! … and of course, there is that essential for pickles and pickling, malt vinegar… and another of course, malt whisky!!

So what is malt and is it actually good for you? Well I know there is malt made from roast barley – but is that the same thing? I know that malt is used in milky drinks – or was, and I guess chocolate Maltesers are or were made from it, or have it as an ingredient.

Malt is germinated cereal grains that have been dried in a process known as “malting”. The grains are made to germinate by soaking in water, and are then halted from germinating further by drying with hot air… Malted grain is used to make beer, whisky, malted shakes, malt vinegar, confections such as Maltesers and… flavoured drinks such as Horlicks…and Ovaltine, ,and some baked goods, such as malt loaf…

What a very useful substance it is… but is it actually good for you?

Amount Per 100 grams

  • Calories 85
  • Sodium 60 mg 2%
  • Potassium 172 mg 4%
  • Total Carbohydrate 11 g 3%
  • Dietary fiber 0.5 g 2%
  • Sugar 7 g
  • Protein 3.4 g 6%
  • Caffeine 3 mg
  • Vitamin A 1%
  • Vitamin C 0%
  • Calcium 9%
  • Iron 1%
  • Vitamin B-6 0%
  • Vitamin B-12 6%
  • Magnesium 3%

It does seem however, that the malt we were given as children was actually just there to disguise the taste of cod liver oil!

My featured image shows malted grain at Otter Brewery – ready to make into beer.


    1. Lois

      Hahaha!! Thank you so much! I’d totally forgotten it!! Now I’m wondering why the maid was forlorn – was it the tattered man she was marrying? Or was it some other reason and the tattered man (and why was he tattered?) were marrying – maybe love? Thank you!! 🙂


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