Fun Christmas Facts: Fruitcake

There are currently only three fruitcakes in the continental United States.

The oldest of these is known at the “Piltdown” Fruitcake for its role in the scandal that ruined the Piltdown Family of East Hampton, New York in the 1930s.  In 1976, scientists from the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. were able to take a core sample of the Piltdown Fruitcake in the hopes of learning more about its creation.  Based on the percentages of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ozone, and sulfur dioxide present at the deepest part of the sample, the scientists were able to determine that the Piltdown Fruitcake was baked in 1872.

Furthermore, the presence of the nut of Juglans cinerea, or white walnut tree, as well as the candied fruit of a particularly hardy strain of Prunus armeniaca, or apricot, allowed the scientists to narrow down the Piltdown Fruitcake’s place of origin to the Hudson River Valley.

Similar tests on the other two fruitcakes proved to be inconclusive, unfortunately.  However, court documents from New London County, Connecticut indicate that the fruitcakes were in existence as of 1916, and the presence of certain trace elements confirm that both fruitcakes likely originated in eastern Connecticut or Rhode Island.

It only seems like there are more fruitcakes because each one is regifted, on average, an astounding 1,043 times every Holiday season.

2 thoughts on “Fun Christmas Facts: Fruitcake

  1. Barbara December 5, 2008 / 2:25 pm

    Thank for sharing this important news. Fruitcake recycling is an important tradition that needs to be upheld for the future of Mother Earth.

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