This Might Be The World's Oldest Butter

If you love to chill butter in your freezer for pastry dough or biscuits, then you probably know this dairy product can last quite a while. The world's oldest butter definitely raises the bar when it comes to aging well — it dates back 5,000 years thanks to an Irish peat bog preserving and protecting this antique (via Smithsonian). This type of wetland has a high acid content that prevents organic matter from fully breaking down, making it a perfect place to preserve treasures from the past (via National Geographic). The 100-pound lump of butter was discovered in 2013, while another 2,000-year-old block of bog butter was found in 2016 that weighed 22 pounds.

While you may not expect a bog to properly store dairy for extended periods, butter is actually quite a common find in Ireland's wetlands. According to Smithsonian, some believe all of the preserved dairy was a gift to the gods or spirits, while others believe locals stored the product there to age it and improve its flavor. The oldest butter dates back 5,000 years, but other ancient blocks of butter that get pulled from the murky depths have stories to tell.

How the butter lasted so long

According to the Daily Mail, another brick of butter was found in 2009 and dated back about 3,000 years, placing it among the oldest containers of bog butter to be found. This vat of butter was found inside of an incredibly well-preserved barrel that measured three feet in length and weighed 77 pounds. The side of the barrel had split as the butter expanded over time but was otherwise very well intact. After so many centuries, the butter had changed from yellow to white and was very similar to the kind of fat that's usually found on human bodies or animals that have been carefully preserved by peat bogs.

Apparently, someone had made the butter and took it out into the wetlands 25 miles west of Dublin, where they buried the barrel (via Wired). That person then must have lost track of the place in which they had stored the butter. These swampy depths continue to fascinate thanks to the fact that they hide so many ancient artifacts and intriguing stories about the people that lived among them. From sacrificed bodies and skulls with drilled holes, to Europe's oldest wheel and a canoe, these wetlands do a remarkable job of preserving and stashing away clues to ancient civilizations. While peat bogs put our freezers to shame, don't try to make pastry dough from this antique butter.