Summer in the Kitchen

I’m working on a number of longer posts, none of which are ready yet. So how about a Jonathan Clark House Museum photo instead?

Part of the kitchen at the Jonathan Clark House museum, Mequon, Wisconsin, July, 2016. Photo by Anna Perkins, used by permission. Click to open larger image in new window.

Mary Turck Clark—and the Clark children—probably spent part of each spring, summer and early fall day tending a sizable herb and vegetable garden. Herbs added flavor to food and were also valued for their medicinal properties. But herbs often grow faster than you can use them. What to do? Hang them up to dry, and enjoy their scents, flavors and healing qualities throughout the coming year.

In early July, if the weather had been good—lots of sun and perhaps an inch or two of rain each week—the Clark family might have enjoyed the first fresh green beans of the summer. That would have been a real treat after months and months of dried produce and the last, tired, potatoes, turnips, onions, carrots and such from the root-cellar1.

By the time autumn arrived, the last beans on the bush would have been big and kind of stringy. Not as tasty as the mid-summer beans, they would be hung up to dry so that the beans could be saved, ready for planting the next spring.


  1. While commercial canning had been around since the 1810s, gardener-farmers like Mary Clark wouldn’t be “canning” at home until the 1860s or later. The Mason jar was not patented until 1858, and the Ball Corporation did not start making their popular glass jars for canning until 1884. (source, source)

3 thoughts on “Summer in the Kitchen

  1. Reed and Anna –
    Thanks for the information and the very nice photo of the pantry that features the 1850 pine jelly cupboard underwritten by Margaret Bussone and her sister Jeanne Holper. JCH Curator Fred Derr made the pantry poles at the blacksmith shop at the Trinity Freistadt Historic Village in Mequon. I hope that you will have a chance to visit the village in 2021!
    I will send you some more photos for your file.
    Nina Look, JCH Exec. Director


  2. More photos, please! It is such a beautiful house and grounds.
    FYI, by July, they would have been enjoying many fresh items from the garden, including rhubarb, peas, lettuces, spinach, strawberries, asparagus, and radishes. They could have also been gathering spring greens in the wild; ramps, creasy greens, nettles, and fiddlehead ferns – yum!


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