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Historic Ida Putnam Jam Kitchen

Green Briar is also the home of the Ida Putnam Jam Kitchen. In 1903 Ida began making jams and jellies on a single wood stove that soon became popular with residents and visitors to the Cape. In 1916 she expanded her commercial venture by building a long kitchen to the right side of the house. She installed two rows of Glenwood cast-iron kerosene burners running down the middle of the room and copper-top counters along the side walls where the hot, newly cooked jam was ladled into Mason jars. In the 1930s the kerosene burners were converted to propane. The kitchen is still operating today.

Tis a won­der­ful thing to sweet­en the world which is in a jam and needs preserving.

– A 1939 handwritten note from Thornton to Ida that is now framed and hangs on the kitchen wall…

Although no longer operational, the sun-cooking process was remembered by author R.A. Lovell, Jr. in his 1984 book, Sandwich: A Cape Cod Town. He credits Ida Putnam with having “the first kitchen in America to use solar cooking for strawberries and soft fruits.”

In an article by Heather Atwood, she describes the sun-cooking process when she worked in the kitchen as teenager one summer: "The sun-cooking system was a wooden shelf, maybe 5 feet long, that extended off the back room and the kitchen glass windows covered the shelf outside. From inside, one passed the pans of sugar, fruit and liquor through small doors opened to the shelf and rolled them out beneath the glass. The jams cooked over four days in the greenhouse-like arrangement, ending in a sweet, thick, regal preserve, rare with sunshine and time."

Awarded Best Jam by Yankee Magazine, visitors still consider the jam kitchen a destination and come to Green Briar to savor the aromas of fresh fruits cooking on the stove.

The Jam Kitchen is a "living museum" and depending on the season, lucky visitors have an opportunity to view the cooking process first-hand depending on the season and schedules.

The kitchen still operates and runs jam-making classes (Private Jam Classes, Family Jam Classes, Adult Jam Classes) teaching the "old fashioned way" in the turn-of-the-century kitchen.

Proceeds from the sale of kitchen products as well as a variety of nature-related books, items and Burgess-inspired toys in the Mercantile, support the environmental education programs of the nature center.