Ever Had Aged Butter? A 2000-Year-Old Hunk of Butter Just Turned Up in Ireland
We love our aged dairy products too, so we're not judging.
You say you love butter? A lot? Enough to try butter that's been aging for 2000 years? The tradition of burying butter goes back millennia, and a man named Jack Conway in County Meath, Ireland, just discovered a 22-pound chunk of butter that's been preserved for what experts estimate is 2000 years, according to Mashable. He found it buried 16 feet underground in the Emlagh bog, a wetland, which according to the local Cavan County Museum's website has "excellent preservative properties – low temperature, low oxygen and highly acidic environment."
So, can you eat this butter? Would you even want to try? We hear some people whispering "sure!" (oops, that might be us), so here's the deal: The Irish, along with handful of other cultures from Scotland to Morocco, have a tradition of burying butter for various reasons. One reason the Irish have stuck their butter underground, according to the Nordic Food Lab? "To sweeten it."
The Cavan County Museum's site has another explanation: "In early medieval Ireland butter was a luxury food often used as a means to pay taxes and rents. It was sometimes used as an offering to the spirits and gods to keep people and their property safe – when used as offerings it would have been buried and never dug up again."
The key words here are "never dug up again," because millennia-old butter is pretty old butter. Arguably too old to go anywhere near, although as Savina Donohoe, curator of the Cavan County Museum, told Mashable of the 2000-year-old specimen, "It does smell like butter."
If you're hankering for aged butter, you might be better off trying smen, the Moroccan fermented butter, which you can actually buy, and eat, in Fez's Smen Square and elsewhere in the country. Chances are it'll only have aged for a year or two, but that sounds plenty aged to us.
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