Arrowroot powder is most commonly known as a healthy alternative to cornstarch. But, did you know about arrowroot's many other uses?
Here are a few of my favorite ways to use arrowroot powder (also called arrowroot flour):
1. Ice cream
If you’ve had homemade ice cream before you know that an overnight freeze makes it almost impossible to scoop! Adding arrowroot powder keeps it from turning hard as a rock in the freezer. It also helps prevent ice crystals from forming on your ice cream.
2. Homemade cake flour
I don’t even know how many times I’ve tried to bake a whole wheat cake and have been terribly disappointed. Since cake flour is a low-protein, refined wheat flour with cornstarch added, I wondered if a mixture of whole wheat flour and arrowroot powder might help my whole grain cake attempts turn out better. It worked! For every cup of flour called for in a cake recipe, I substitute 3/4 C. hard white wheat flour plus 2 T. arrowroot powder (Sift together with a fine mesh strainer). I use this with muffins and scones, too... read more
Arrowroot flour, the only starch with a calcium ash, is a nutritious food, obtained from the fleshy root stock of a tropical American plant. It is an easily digested food well fitted for infants and the convalescent.
It resembles cornstarch in being white, fine and powdery. When heated in water in certain portions, it thickens to form a jelly, an excellent thickening agent. It is also considered more desirable for gravies, sauces and pastries than some of the more common starches and flours.
Arrowroot was once widely used in baby formulas as a superior carbohydrate, experience having shown it agreed with babies better than any other starch or sugar. We now find the reason. It is the only starch product with a calcium ash. In this regard, the calcium chloride, in the form of calcium found in arrowroot starch, is very important for the maintenance of proper acid and alkali balances in the human body.
Arrowroot only thrives on tidal flats where the sea minerals are available. Its known health-building properties may be due to trace minerals from the sea, as well as from the calcium it gets from the sea water. If it is used in ice cream formulas in place of cornstarch, arrowroot imparts a vanilla-like flavor, a smooth texture. Arrowroot as it comes to you is not a refined product; it is simply the dried and powdered root.
Arrowroot powder is primarily a starch thickener. It has several advantages over other thickeners in that arrowroot powder has a more neutral flavor and is especially good at thickening delicately flavored liquids. It works at low temperatures and tolerates acidic ingredients. While some sauces thickened with other starches become spongy if frozen, arrowroot powder thickened sauces stand up under freezing and thawing. It also prevents ice crystals from forming on your homemade ice cream.
Arrowroot makes clear, shimmering fruit gels and is invaluable when you wish to have a clear, thickened sauce, for example, a fruit sauce. It will not make the sauce go cloudy, as will cornstarch, flour or other starchy thickening agents.
The lack of gluten in arrowroot flour makes it useful as a replacement for wheat flour in baking. Arrowroot thickens at a lower temperature than does flour or cornstarch and is not weakened by acidic ingredients. It is recommended to mix arrowroot with a cool liquid before adding to a hot fluid. The mixture should be heated only until the mixture thickens and removed immediately to prevent the mixture from thinning. Overheating tends to break down arrowroot's thickening property.
The powder can also be used to soothe an uneasy stomach and alleviate diarrhea or nausea and vomiting. Since it contains calcium and carbohydrates as well as other nutrients, arrowroot is also used as an easily digested source of nutrition for infants, people recovering from illnesses (especially those with bowel problems), and those on restricted diets.
Uses: We add arrowroot to many food recipes (hot cereals, sauces, gravies, meat dishes, vegetable dishes, stir-fry, baby food and formulas, waffles and pancakes, ice cream, etc.). It's excellent as a thickener that adds nutrition to your recipes, rather than cornstarch which is highly processed. It can be used to benefit men, women (including before, during or after pregnancy, and nursing) and children. It can be used as often as you would like.
Voice of Experience: To use arrowroot powder as a thickener, mix equal parts of powder and cold (or room temperature) liquid to form a slurry. Then, stir it into your warm or hot liquid for about 30 seconds until blended. You'll want to remove it from the heat quickly because over heating tends to diminish arrowroot's thickening properties. One tablespoon of arrowroot will thicken about one cup of liquid. In baking, use 1 part arrowroot for about 2 parts flour.
Storage: Like many other bulk foods, Arrowroot stores fairly well. It should be kept in an airtight container and stored in a dark, dry, and cool place (no refrigeration is required).
Questions?: Check out Frequently Asked Questions.
Posted by Unknown on 31st Jan 2013
Someone told me that I should try it on my little Emily, and I'm glad I did.
Posted by Sue on 31st Jan 2013
This is really good stuff. It's white. It's powdery. And it can be used for all kinds of things. If I had to put it into one word, I'd say it's "very useful" - oops, that's two.