Monday, August 12, 2019

Garlick flour

Wild garlic, grown among the wheat plants, caused problems in the mills by gumming up the mill stones and later, the rollers.  Although it was almost impossible to "destroy the garlick" in the fields, farmers shared their attempts such as using plaster of Paris.  One early author claimed that the Hessians during the Rev War introduced it.  As for grinding the grain with the garlic seeds - Oliver Evans wrote his method to "dress" the mill stones and several inventions were patented.

Since the wild garlic seeds were about the same size as grains of wheat it was  difficult to separate at the mill.  In addition to seeds, the wild garlic also grew from the bulb.  Allium ursinum was called ‘Moly or wild garlick in Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of 1766.

Attempts in Philadelphia to "destroy the garlick"

In 1802, Algernon Roberts near Philadelphia wrote that his field was “much infested with garlick” and tried to “destroy the garlick” using plaster of Paris.  His neighbor Judge Richard Peters of ‘Belmont’ (friend of Thomas Jefferson) wrote fourteen pages for the Phila. Society for Promoting Agriculture in 1809 about his ultimately unsuccessful attempts at “Extirpation of Wild Garlick”.  By that time “the late Mr. William Jones” who bought “Garlick Hall in the neck” in 1760, had rid the wild garlic on his property… this result “is attainable by a few people only.”  His home was called Garlick Hall!  It was a large parcel of land  - blue on the map - on the Delaware River in Moyamensing, now southern Philadelphia. Jacob Hiltzheimer’s diary recorded a Dec 30, 1765 dinner with Robert Erwin and 24 other gentlemen at the home.

Grinding stones
An early way to improve grinding the mixed garlic and wheat at the mill was to "dress" the stones differently. "... to grind garlicky wheat, they must be cracked roughly all over the face; and dressed more open about the eye, that they may-not break the grains of garlic too suddenly, but gradually, giving the glutinous substance of the garlic more time to incorporate itself with the meal, that it may not adhere to the stone. The rougher the face, the longer will the stones grind, because the longer will the garlic be in filling all the edges." [Evans]

Excerpts from books -

Oliver Evans how to "dress" the mill stones


IN many parts of America there is a species of onion called garlic, that grows spontaneously with the wheat. It bears a head resembling a seed onion, which contains a number of "grains about the size of a grain of wheat, but somewhat lighter.* It is of a glutinous texture, and very soon adheres to the stone (in grinding) in such a manner as apparently to blunt the edges, so that they will not grind to any degree of perfection. We are therefore obliged to take the runner up, and wash the glaze off with water, scrubbing the faces with stiff brushes, and drying up the water with cloths or sponges; this laborious operation must be repeated twice, or perhaps four times, in 24 hours; if there be about 40 grains of garlic in a handful of Wheat.

To put the stones in the best order to grind garlicky wheat, they must be cracked roughly all over the face; and dressed more open about the eye, that they may - not break the grains of garlic too suddenly, but gradually, giving the glutinous substance of the garlic more time to incorporate itself with the meal, that it may not adhere to the stone. The rougher the face, the longer will the stones grind, because the longer will the garlic be in filling all the edges.

The best method that I have yet discovered for manufacturing garlicky wheat, is as follows, viz.

First, clean it over several times, in order to take out all the garlic that can be got out by the machinery, (which is easily done if you have a wheat elevator well fixed, as directed in art. 94, plate IX.) then chop or half grind it, which will break the garlic, (it being softer than the wheat) the moisture will so diffuse itself through the chopped wheat, that it will not injure the stones so much, in the second grinding. By this means a considerable quantity can be ground, without taking up the stones. The chopping may be done at the rate of 15 or 20 bushels in an hour; and with but little trouble or loss of time; provided there be a meal-elevator that will hoist it up to the meal-loft, from whence it may descend to the hopper by spouts, to be ground a second time, when it will grind faster than if it had not been chopped. Great care should be taken, that it be not chopped so fine that it will not feed by the knocking of the shoe; (which would make it very troublesome) as likewise, that it be not too coarse, lest the garlic be not sufficiently broken. If the chopped grain could lay a considerable time, that the garlic might dry, it would grind much better.

But although every precaution be taken, if there be much garlic in the wheat, the bran will not be well cleaned; besides, there will be much coarse meal made; such as middlings, and stuff, which will require to be ground over again, in order to make the most profit of the grain: this I shall treat of in the next chapter.

* The complete separation of this garlic from the wheat, is so difficult, that it has hitherto baffled all our art. Those grains that are larger, and those that are smaller than the grain can be separated by screens; and those that are much lighter, may be blown out by fans; but those that are of the same size, and nearly of the same weight, can not be separated without putting the wheat in water, where the wheat will sink, and the garlic swim. But this method is too tedious for the miller to practise, except it be once a year, to clean up the headings, rather than lose the wheat that is mixed with the garlic, which can not be otherwise sufficiently separated: Great care should be taken by the farmers to prevent this troublesome thing from getting root in their farms, which, if it does, it will be almost impossible ever to root it out again; because it propagates by both seed and root, and is very hardy." [Evans]

1831  tale about the Hessians
"More flour is annually inspected at Baltimore, than at any other port in the United States excepting New York. The amount for the year 1830, was 597,804 barrels... is sent almost exclusively to England... The quantity in general is good, excepting that a portion of it is sometimes tainted with garlick; a nuisance that is almost unavoidable, because the plant grows spontaneously in the wheat districts. It is said to have been first introduced by the Hessians, during the revolutionary war, and it has since increased so much, that it cannot be got rid of. The wheat exported from Baltimore is grown in the State of Maryland, and in many parts of Virginia and Pennsylvania." [Vigne]

Introduced into the United States more than a century ago, wild garlic, Allium vineale L., is now found in almost every state east of the Mississippi River. It is most abundant in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Tennessee and North Carolina and grows in considerable quantities in the northern part of South Carolina, the southern part of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut, being found locally in the other states. Millers who are familiar with this pest do not need to be told that it is the most objectionable of foreign substances found in wheat. 
The garlic bulblets gum the rolls, necessitating the stopping of the mill and the washing of the rolls before grinding can be resumed. Where large quantities of garlic are present it is necessary to repeat the washing every two or three hours. In addition to this, 
flour made from garlicky wheat is of inferior quality, the garlic odor being present, especially when bread made from the flour is eaten warm. 
Although there are no available data showing the exact loss due to the presence of garlic in grain, it is known to be very great. In some sections wheat raising has been abandoned because of low prices resulting from the presence of garlic. Some years ago Dr. J. W. T. Duvel of the U. S. Department of Agriculture estimated the annual loss from garlic at $1,500,000, and the figure is undoubtedly conservative. Members of the Baltimore Chamber of Commerce estimate that 60 per cent of the wheat grown in that section of the United States contains more or less garlic. The depreciation of the Maryland crop alone is placed at $600,000 to $1,200,000 annually. 
From the fact that the aerial bulblets of wild garlic are practically the same size and weight as the Wheat kernels it is impossible to remove them during the autumn or early winter by the use of ordinary cleaning machinery. Some of the lighter, immature bulblets may be blown out by a good fanning mill, and if the bulblets are allowed to freeze they become dry and can be blown out, but this is not always practicable. 
A series of experiments conducted by Doctor Duvel showed that by artifically drying garlicky wheat practically all of the garlic could be cleaned out, but as this requires equipment not found in the average mill, the problem of wild garlic remains unsolved so far as the majority of country millers are concerned. In Indiana this pest is becoming a serious menace and at the recent meeting of the Indiana Millers' State Association it was one of the principal topics discussed and was made the subject of a resolution in which legislative action looking to the eradication of wild garlic on the farm is asked."
[Am Miller] 

Garlic Separators

Cockle and Garlic Separator. 1874
"A machine for separating from wheat or other grain the seeds of cockle and the corms of the wild garlic, which is such a nuisance in some portions of the Atlantic slope.
In the example, the hopper has a small adjustable outlet through which the grain falls on to the perforated cylinder and is carried round and swept on the board by the revolving brush. The cockle drops through the perforations into the cylinder, and is carried round till it is discharged at the end into a drawer.
Another mode of separating cockle and garlic is to give the roller a slightly adhesive surface, so that the rough-skinned cockle or the soft-skinned garlic may adhere thereto, and be earned off by the roller to be swept away, while the hard and bright-skinned grain refuses to adhere, and passes to a different receptacle."  [Knight]

Garlic Separator.  William C. Ayers.  1888

"Claim.— 1. In a garlic-separator, the combination, with a rotary cylinder provided with teeth on its periphery, which teeth are in rows extending around the cylinder, of an adjacent rubber roller in contact with said cylinder, a clearing-comb the teeth of which extend between the said rows of teeth to the surface of the cylinder, and an adjustable cut-oft chute, substantially as and for the purposes described.
2. In a garlic-separator, the combination, with the rotary cylinder provided with teeth which are arranged in rows extending around the cylinder, of an adjacent rubber roller in contact therewith and a clearing-comb which is provided with teeth the inner edges of which are curved and conform to the periphery of the cylinder, substantially as set forth and described." [Patent Office]

Past posts

Garlic Butter HERE
Sharpening the mill stones photo montage HERE
Jefferson and Judge Peters HERE


Deutschland, Otto.  Österreich und der Schweiz.  Gera, Germany: 1885 - Garlic picture
Evans, Oliver.  The Young Mill-Wright and Miller's Guide ... 5th ed. with additions.  Phila: 1826
Hiltzheimer, Jacob.  Extracts of the Diary of... (1765-1798).  1893
Knight, Edward. Knight's American Mechanical Dictionary. v1.  NY: 1874
Mapping West Philadelphia Landowners in October 1777 HERE
Memoirs of the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture ..., Volume 2.  Phila: 1811
Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, Jan 22, 1889
The American Miller  March 1, 1913
Vigne, Godfrey.  Six Months in America [1831].  Phila: 1833

©2019 Patricia Bixler Reber
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