Yes, we are here!

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we have been educating folks about the benefits of self-reliance for 50 years. That includes researching and sourcing the best books and products to help individuals master the skills they need in times like these and beyond. Our online store is open and we are here to answer any questions you might have. Our customer service staff is available Monday through Friday from 8a.m.-5p.m. CDT. We can be reached at 1-800-234-3368 or by email. Stay safe!


Butter That Stays Good for 3,000 Years


| 1/22/2020 10:06:00 AM


 

When most people picture Ireland, they picture our characteristic green fields and old stone walls. But Ireland also has lots of bog – the Bog of Allen, where I live, stretches almost a thousand square kilometres across several counties. Bogs are difficult to get through or settle in even today, so they were isolated, mysterious places, where characters in folktales met banshees or other supernatural beings, and a good place for starving and subjugated people to hide, or hide things.

A bog is a natural wetland, like a swamp or marsh – the difference is that the water is very acidic and low in oxygen, so that insects, fungi and even most bacteria can’t survive. Things buried in the bog don’t rot, so it made a clever place to hide things if you could find them again. Farmers here still find trees that fell in centuries ago, the wood stained black but not rotten. Sometimes they find possessions hidden in the bog that their owners never came back for; necklaces, coins, tools, swords. And sometimes they find stores of food, up to 3,000 years old and not only intact, but edible. Specifically, they find butter. 

Bizarre as that sounds, more than 430 caches of butter have been found in bogs, some small as fists, some big as barrels. The aforementioned 3,000-year-old butter weighed more than 35 kilos, the size of a child. And a surprising number of adventurous finders sampled the butter, and reported it delicious.

This doesn’t even count all the buried gastronomic treasure still waiting out there. Since we can suppose that people buried their butter to unearth and eat it later, and usually did so, these hundreds of finds must represent the small proportion of times that their owners died or the locations forgotten. This must have been a rather commonplace activity.



So why butter, you ask? A surprising number of foods around the world are preserved by being buried in the ground, but they are usually dried foods in arid climates (cheese in Italy), or sub-Arctic countries where the ground is freezing (salmon in Sweden), or where the food is meant to ferment in some way (eggs in China). In this case it’s waterlogged ground, it would probably disintegrate in the water over time unless it’s naturally waterproof, like fat. 



Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters


click me