250-year-old Preserved Cherries Found at George Washington's Estate



George Washington was associated with cherry trees from a young age, although that tale was completely fabricated. And the iconic cherry trees in Washington, DC, only came in 1912. But Mount Vernon, Washington's estate, had orchards and slaves, and apparently they packed cherries in bottles to preserve them. Archaeologists found two bottles of cherries under a brick floor, and months later found 35 bottles in the cellar. Twenty-nine of the bottles were still intact, and contained preserved cherries and berries.

You may wonder how these bottles were never found before, as Mount Vernon has always been a historic site. George Washington's father built the mansion on the estate in 1734. The president expanded the house twice, and no doubt performed several renovations. The 35 bottles of cherries were found in abandoned storage pits in the cellar, which may have been forgotten and then covered over when Washington left his home to command the Continental Army.

The cherries seem to be in pretty good shape, considering their age. Scientists are studying the bottles, the cherries (including stems and pits), and the preservation method. So far, there's no word on whether anyone has tasted them. Read more about this discovery at Smithsonian.   


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