Distilling of Potatoes.
This is a branch of distilling that I cannot too highly recommend to the attention of every American—nor can the cultivation of this valuable vegetable be carried to a too great extent, the value of which ought to be known to every planter and it some times has awakened my surprise that they are not more cultivated, as it is notorious that they will sustain, and be a tolerable food for every thing possessing life on this earth—and as they produce a brandy, if properly made, of fine flavour. I hope yet to see the day when it will take precedence of French brandy and West-India spirits, and thereby retain in our own country, the immense sums at present expended on those foreign liquors; which, tho' benefitted by the sea voyage, yet often reaches us in a most per[Pg 79]nicious state, and is frequently adulterated here.
Could the American farmer be brought to raise a larger quantity of potatoes than necessary for his consumption at home, the price would be lowered, and the distiller might commence the distillation of them with greater propriety. That they contain a great deal and a very good spirit, I am certain, and moreover, after distillation will yield as great a quantity of good wholesome food for cattle or hogs, as rye or any other grain. If distillers could be brought to try the experiment of distilling ten or twelve bushels annually, I venture to predict that it would soon become a source of profit to themselves, encouragement to the farmer, and be of benefit to our country at large.
One acre of ground, if well farmed, will produce from fifty to one hundred bushels of potatoes, but say sixty on an average. One hundred farmers each planting one acre, would yield six thousand bushels, which will yield at least two gallons of spirit to each bushel; thus, twelve thousand gallons of wholesome spirit may be produced, and with care, as good as necessary to be drank. Each farmer proceeding in this way, would have one hundred and twenty gallons spirit, as much as he may have oc[Pg 80]casion to use in the year, which would save the price of some acres of wheat or one hundred and twenty gallons rye whiskey. Each acre worked in potatoes will be in better order to receive a crop of wheat, barley, rye, or any kind of grain, than from any other culture. The farmer often receiving the advantage of a double crop, at the expense of seed and labor. They grow equally well in every soil and climate, in poor as well as rich ground—provided the thin soil be manured, and the potatoes plastered with plaster of Paris; and moreover, they are easier prepared for distilling than either apples, rye or corn, as I shall show hereafter when I come to treat of the mode of preparation; and in order to demonstrate the advantages that would arise to the farmer and distiller; I add a statement of the probable profits of ten acres of potatoes, and that of a like number of acres of rye, to shew which offers the greatest advantages.
|Ten acres at 60 bushels is 600 bushels at 33 cents||$ 198 00|
|Ten acres of Rye, at 30 bushels per acre, is 300 bushels at 60 cents||$ 180 00|
|600 bushels yielding 2 gallons to the bushel, 1200 gallons at 50 cents||600|
|300 bushels yielding 3 gallons to the bushel, 900 gallons at 50 cents||450|
|Balance in favor of Potatoes||$ 132|
Thus a balance of one hundred and thirty two dollars would appear in favor of the yield of potatoes.
I would not pretend to say that ten acres of Potatoes will not take more labor than ten acres of rye, but this far I will venture to say, that the profits arising from the sale of this brandy, will more than double pay the additional expense of raising them, besides the ground will be in much better condition to receive a crop of wheat, than the rye ground, nay, will be enriched from the crop, whilst the rye ground will be greatly impoverished.
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