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Sometimes_Stutters t1_iub6ykg wrote

Fun fact- Sauerkraut was actually the primary food to prevent scurvy. Cheaper, easier to transport, and lasted much longer.


KingHenry13th t1_iuc4l18 wrote

Another fun fact- during ww2 the Americans called the germans krauts because they always found sourkraut left behind in their camps. The Americans called brits limeys because they used limes for scurvey prevention.


OneEightActual t1_iucfsts wrote

Funner fact: the British were dismayed to find out that limes don't actually prevent scurvy; although they taste sour because of citirc acid, they don't actually contain a lot of Vitamin C. It turns out there was some confusion about the translations for words like limón that might might mean limes, lemons or even both. What we know as limes were just easier to come by in a lot of British colonies, so that's what they used, with inconsistent and sometimes disappointing results.

Even funner still fact: scurvy was widespread in winter months in Europe before potatoes were cultivated from the New World in the 17th Century. Potatoes gained popularity because they grew easily on land that might otherwise be unusable for farming, and potatoes could be stored for months with little effort. Through an accident that wasn't understood until the 20th Century, it turned out that potatoes contained just enough Vitamin C to help stave off the worst of scurvy. At about the same time limes were adopted, potatoes became more common for provisioning ships too, and the reduction in scurvy was misattributed to limes.

Edit: forgot supporting link about Vitamin C in potatoes, sry


Thebitterestballen t1_iucivv8 wrote

Also many spices, such as chilli or star anise, contain huge amounts of vitamin C. There where ships that lost most of their crew to scurvy while bringing spices from the east, without knowing their ship was stuffed with the cure.


Iwantmyflag t1_iuco7qi wrote

None of this is true.

Limes contain a lot of vitamin C.

Various cabbages were a widespread winter food in Europe and contain plenty vitamin C.


Isthecoldwarover t1_iucopa7 wrote

I thought the same on your first point since spuds contain less vitamin c than limes but assume the quantity of each ration was actually improtant, so it was the daily handful of spuds rather than whatever their lime ration was that made the difference

Don't get your second point since cabbages wouldn't last the full lenght of a journey in comparison to spuds which have a much longer shelf life


OneEightActual t1_iucrwzr wrote

That's the thing; potatoes were given daily or even several times daily when they were available, which got really common. Limes/lime juice were rationed more carefully. I can't find the reference now, but there was even a British expedition to the Antarctic relying on limes that got stricken with scurvy, and it could not be explained why at the time.

Fermented cabbage products like sauerkraut were trialed and were successful, but weren't widely adopted, perhaps because of the Brits' tendency to cook it in iron cookware that gave it an unpleasant metallic taste.


Frosty-Wave-3807 t1_iue5rgn wrote

Sauerkraut can easily survive 6+ months. I've eaten older preparations, both that I've made and commercially prepared, for longer than that, 10+ months. It took anywhere from ~8-12 weeks to sail across the Atlantic. Think the sauerkraut would be fine.


ends_abruptl t1_iudgkzz wrote

Yeah, not to mention you need less than a tenth of a gram of vitamin C a day. It's ludicrously easy to get enough. So easy in fact, the human body never evolved a vitamin C storage system.


TheEyeDontLie t1_iucffbw wrote

The Americans didn't get a nickname cos they arrived late.


Sloofin t1_iuciujy wrote

The septics definitely had nicknames despite arriving late.


ColonelKasteen t1_iudnlks wrote

No, "limey" was in use for English sailors and more generally for English men everywhere in the anglosphere since the 19th century.

WWII GIs sometimes referred to English troops as limeys because they had been called that for the last 100 years. They more often called English troops Tommys.


AgoraiosBum t1_iuj6ydr wrote

An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please


Kukuxupunku t1_iucfd9s wrote

So what did the Americans use themselves?


sojywojum t1_iucgwve wrote

how were the americans preventing scurvy?


Staerebu t1_iuc6pu3 wrote

Polynesians stored pandan paste and fermented breadfruit while they were settling the Pacific