settler's starch

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As I have before observed, it is a great object with the Canadian settlers to manufacture everything they consume, if it be practicable. The careful emigrant's wife buys no starch; but makes all she uses, either from potatoes or bran. Potato starch is the fine flour that is obtained from the potato by grating it down in water. Pare some large potatoes; white skinned are preferable to red or purple; grate them down to a pulp on a coarse rasp, or the large-holed side of a bread grater; let the pulp fall into a pan of clean cold water. When you have reduced all your potatoes by grating, stir the mass well up with your hand; lay a clean coarse cloth in your colander over a vessel, and strain the whole mass; squeezing it till the pulp is quite dry. The liquor that remains after the straining must then be left to settle for an hour or more, or till it looks clear and shows a sediment at the bottom. It may then be poured off, and a second water put on; stir this, and leave it again for some hours. A third water should be added; pouring off the former one as before; three waters is generally sufficient. The last time you pour the water off, you will perceive a slightly discoloured crust on the top of your starch, or some of the fine fibrous matter that has passed through; remove it with a clean spoon, and the pure, spotless, white substance below is the starch. This must be taken out, and spread to dry in a warm, sunny place, stirring it very frequently, till the whole is perfectly dry. It may then be put in paper bags, and hung up in a dry room. Be sure that it is quite dry before bagging it. Not only does this make the clearest and best of starch for muslins and linens, but is a good substitute for arrow-root, boiled in milk, either for invalids or babes; and is valuable in places where delicacies for sick person cannot easily be procured. Origin: The Canadian Settler's Guide, written in 1855 Shared by: Sharon Stevens. Submitted By SHARON STEVENS On 01-07-95

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