Butter on Ice
The world’s oldest block of butter — believed to have come from the Canterbury Central Co-operative Dairy Company, formed in the 1890s and based in Christchurch — has been found in the stable area next to Captain Robert Scott’s Antarctic hut. The building, with its shelves of tinned food, bedding and clothing, offers a remarkable snapshot of the conditions faced by Scott and his men. Freezing temperatures have preserved the building’s contents, but increased snowfall over recent years has put the fragile structure under threat, prompting the Antarctic Heritage Trust to launch a preservation project. Members of the Trust were working on the stables next to the hut when they found the two frozen blocks of butter next to empty butter boxes. “I think the butter was absolutely a treasure find,” Lizzie Meek of the Antarctic Heritage Trust told TVNZ. “It looked like an old wrinkly bag and you look inside and saw the wonderful Silver Fern logo,” Meek said. She described the butter’s smell as “very pungent.” “What’s amazing is how strong that smells,” she said. “I’m not sure I’d want it on my toast.” The team will now attempt to restore the butter, removing tiny pieces of grit that are embedded in it. It will then be placed back in the stables, where temperatures seldom rise above 10C. If it does not deteriorate, the team will leave it for another 100 years, said Meek.