Arctic Explorers Find and Eat 60-Year-Old Jam

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On a recent expedition to the northeast tip of Greenland, cave scientist Gina Moseley and her team of arctic explorers stumbled upon an unexpected feast: 14 tins of food, perfectly preserved by northern Greenland’s cold, dry climate, that had been hidden away by members of another mission six decades ago. So the explorers did what anyone who’d spent the last three weeks eating repetitive, flavorless camping rations would do: They ate them.

Moseley told National Geographic that, while the cans contained a range of culinary treats—including meatballs, beans, and even hot cocoa mix—the most exciting discovery was a can of biscuits and grape jam. 

“It was funny actually,” Moseley said. “We had kilograms of porridge back at basecamp, so we were eating a lot of it—just dried milk powder and porridge. It was nice, but we were thinking ‘some jam would be really nice right now.’ And then Chris walks into the tent and he’s got some jam.”

But the 55-year-old stash represented more than just a welcome break from a monotonous porridge diet. “I suspect the people that were eating these tins and left these tins might have been the people who discovered the caves,” Moseley says. “And they were the reason we were there in the first place.”

The containers, stamped with “09-55” and “09-60” expiration dates, match up with the 1960 expedition of William E. Davies of the Military Geology Branch and Daniel B. Krinsley of the U.S. Geological Survey from June 14 to July 1 that year. So according to National Geographic, it’s likely that Moseley was, in fact, eating food from the very first expedition to the caves in that region. Though Moseley and her team are primarily interested in a different kind of history—they study paleo-climate records—the tins gave them a welcome taste of what it was like to go on that first expedition six decades ago.

[h/t: National Geographic]