100 Year Old Fruitcake Found In Antarctica Is Still Fresh Enough To Eat

Posted: Aug 13 2017, 3:34am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

100 Year Old Fruitcake Found in Antarctica is Still Fresh Enough to Eat
Fruit cake found at Cape Adare hut. Credit: Antarctic Heritage Trust

A perfectly preserved fruitcake has been discovered in the coldest place on Earth

Researchers have found a remarkably well-preserved fruitcake that remained buried in Antarctica for more than a century. It's wrapped in a paper and encased in an iron tin. Surprisingly, the fruitcake is not smelly and decomposed. It is still in an excellent condition and looks almost edible, suggesting that fruitcakes have a much longer shelf life than expected.

Researchers believe that the perfectly preserved cake was likely taken to Antarctica by British explorer Robert Falcon Scott during his 1910-1913 expedition. It was made by the British company Huntley & Palmers that was once the world’s largest biscuit factory.

The cake is among several artifacts recovered from the remote Cape Adar hut in East Antartica, which was built in 1899 by Norwegian explorer Carsten Borchgrevink and his team. It was later used by Captain Scott’s team in 1911. Captain Scott and his four-member team died in 1912 while returning to their base – Terra Nova hut on Cape Evans

The hut was abandoned for many decades before New Zealand-based Antarctic Heritage Trust researchers took shelter in it. The team has been finding artifacts in the hut since May 2016. So far more than 1500 artifacts have been recovered including the cake.

Although fruitcake tin is rusty and looks in a bad condition, the cake itself is good to eat.

“With just two weeks to go on the conservation of the Cape Adare artifacts, finding such a perfectly preserved fruitcake in amongst the last handful of unidentified and severely corroded tins was quite a surprise. It’s an ideal high-energy food for Antarctic conditions, and is still a favorite item on modern trips to the Ice.” Program Manager-Artefacts Lizzie Meek said.

Captain Scott’s Terra Nova expedition is marked by the constructions of buildings in Antarctica and they were the very first building on the continent.

“The cake probably dates to the Cape Adare-based Northern Party of Scott's Terra Nova expedition ... as it has been documented that Scott took this particular brand of cake with him at that time.” Trust said in a statement.

The Trust is now planning to protect buildings at Cape Adare site and all of the restored items will be returned to the original location following conservation.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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