Ancient fruit cake ‘still edible’ after 100 years in Antarctica

Kramer Phillips By Kramer Phillips | 3 years ago

Conservators working at the Antarctic Heritage Trust have found an intact, 100-year-old fruitcake tucked away in one of Antarctica’s oldest buildings.

The team found the nearly indestructible dessert in a hut located in Cape Adare. It was originally made by Huntley & Palmers and the explorers stored it in a small tin. Despite its age, the pastry appeared to be in great shape.

“Although the tin was in poor condition, the cake itself looked and smelt (almost) edible,” stated the trust in a note about the expedition, Tech Times reports.

Explorer Robert Falcon Scott likely brought the treat to the icy continent during the Terra Nova expedition from 1910 to 1913. During that time, he and his team sought shelter in the aged hut. While the four-person group reached the South Pole in 1912, all of them died on the way back to the expedition base.

The fruitcake likely made it to the hut because it is a great dessert for cold expeditions. It holds up quite well in freezing conditions and is even used on trips to the icy parts of the world today.

The odd discovery is one of the many artifacts pulled from the hut, which was built in 1899 and was one of the first buildings ever constructed on the continent. A team began excavating the building last year, and they finished their dig in July. Nearly 1,500 artifacts were uncovered throughout the process, and most of them have been conserved.

Officials hope the huts will draw more visitors to Antarctica and help drive tourism. However, they also believe the recovered items will help piece together the continent’s history and shed more light into the early expeditions that took place there.

This also shows the “importance of protecting its fragile environment, because we don’t know what other amazing things we might find from the Heroic Age of exploration,” Clemson University historian Stephanie Barczewski told National Geographic in an email.