Bog-Butter

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

bog-butter the product of a discontinued custom, practised since medieval times, of preserving fresh butter in bogs. It is associated with Iceland, India, Ireland, Morocco, and Scandinavia (Evans, 1957).

In Ireland many examples have been found in bogs whilst turf-cutting. These finds, of various weights, had been wrapped in cloth and packed into wooden boxes or baskets. In some cases the butter was flavoured with wild garlic. It is believed that the butter was placed in bogs not only for preservation purposes but possibly also to develop a desired rancid flavour. It has also been suggested that the butter was a votive offering to the fairies (see fairy food). Evans believes that the custom continued in Ireland until at least the 19th century.