The Strange-ness: Fruitcake Longevity

The Strange-ness -- The Grey Area News --
The Strange-ness -- The Grey Area News --

Fruitcake: people love it or hate it. The multi-colored cakes were preserved with alcohol in “the old days” which protected them from spoilage, and the dried, candied fruits staved off mold by having , low water content. The fruitcake you buy at the big box store might not last long, but fruitcakes made a century ago may still be sitting unspoiled in family cupboards.

Several fruitcakes have survived for over 100 years. One is maintained by a Michigan family, as the 139-year-old cake was made by a relative in the 1800s. See a 2015 article on this Michigan century-cake here. In 2017, a fruitcake found in Antarctica was determined to be over 100, though its preservation was aided by the area’s cold weather.

While it might be possible to eat fruitcakes made in the 1800s and 1900s, it is unlikely a cake that old would be eaten. Some people just don’t like fruitcake, and those that do might be kept from taking a bite by the “ick” factor. Or, because the fruitcake is so old it has become an heirloom or a part of history!

There are other foods which humans may eat even if they’ve been stored for a long time. Honey, for example, doesn’t spoil. As long as nothing has been added to it, or done to it (like cooking/blending it), and is stored in a container that won’t degrade, honey just sits un-spoiled. It might change color, or form crystals, but doesn’t “go bad”. Archaeologists have recovered honey dating back millenia. Whether a human wants to consume it or not is another matter. See some of the science behind honey’s staying power in this Smithsonian article. Or, this NC State News 2014 article which asks if fruitcake can last forever.

So when stocking up your pantry in preparation for disaster, grab some honey and pack a fruitcake or two — as long as the cakes have been properly prepared and packaged. They can sit and wait a long time for you to eat them.


Ed. Note: To see what other foods might stock a bomb shelter or prepper pantry, see this 2015 article on Survivorpedia.

(Discl: This article is for news purposes only and does not substitute for the standards used to determine if food is safe to eat, nor does it provide health/medical advice in any way.)

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About Kay Whatley 2309 Articles
Kay Whatley serves as Editor and Reporter with The Grey Area News. Kay is a published author with over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. Kay Whatley is wife to Frank Whatley, founder of The Grey Area™ newspaper and The Grey Area News online news website.