November 19, 1851

Barberries

Wednesday Nov 19th  Jane is not as well  I got the breakfast

this morning and have been scalding my barbaries

and put more apples to them and have been

about house all day  Painted some mustard

boxes &c  Mrs Wales & Williams called

Mr Whitwell called but I was busy up stairs

and he found no one below and he went

away without seeing any one

Evelina made breakfast as Jane McHanna, usually in the kitchen preparing coffee and the morning meal,  was ailing. Evelina stayed in the cook room for much of the day, “scalding my barbaries” to be put away.  Barberry was a common, woody, hedge shrub with a couple of domestic applications. Cultivated in the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries, the fruit made “an agreeable, refreshing jelly,”** and the stems could also be used to make a yellow dye.  Evelina wouldn’t have needed the dye; she bought all her textiles.  But she used the fruit for jelly and pies.

Once Evelina got out of the kitchen, she picked up a paint brush to freshen up some mustard boxes. These were small to medium-sized wooden boxes for her pantry. Spices and other kitchen ingredients would have been stored in them. Evelina seemed to be getting her kitchen in perfect order for the Thanksgiving rush.

*Image of barberries courtesy of http://www.womenfitness.net/barberries.htm

** Mrs M. Grieve, A Modern Herbal, courtesy of http://www.botannical.com

One thought on “November 19, 1851

  1. As I recall, barberries are a decent source of Vitamin C. My question remains as to how they acquired the bushels of barberries referenced in an earlier entry. As far as I know, they are pretty much an untapped resource, now.

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