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Copper Kettle and Apple-Butter Stirrer


Spring and Summer on the farm produced large quantities of food that had to be preserved for winter use. Apples, tomatoes and pumpkin, for example, had to be cooked and canned. Above is a copper kettle that was used for cooking large quantities of foods for canning. This kettle could be used outside over an open fire to avoid having to cook in the house where the only air conditioning was to open the doors and windows. In the early 19th century it might also have been used for also cooking down (concentrating) maple syrup. But by the early 20th century very little maple syrup was made in Monroe County. In the late fall or early winter, during butchering season, this kettle might be used to cook down animal fat to produce lard.


The stirrer was used to help reduce the fruit to a fine texture as it cooked and to keep it from sticking to the hot kettle. Stirring this pot was a hot, boring job and the long handle of the stirrer allowed the person doing this work to stay a little away from the fire. However, the radiant heat and smoke from the burning wood fuel still took its toll.


The original known owner (there may have been an earlier owner) of this copper kettle was William Lallathin (1858 1946), grandfather of the sisters, Dorothy (Jones) Bayes and Hazel (Jones) Barker. The kettle and stirrer are now owned by Hazel (Jones) Barker.


Photo taken July 2005


Provided by Dorothy Bayes


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