Saturday, January 30, 2010


Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea) is a large rainforest herb. It is also the word used to describe the white, odorless powder made from the starchy root. It contains a very modest amount of calcium and folate.

Arrowroot powder, also referred to as arrowroot starch or arrowroot flour, is frequently used as a thickener for puddings and sauces. It can also be used in baked goods, especially baby biscuits. I like to use it because it is gluten free, therefore easier for those who have digestive issues, and is not corn based, making it a good allergenic free thickening agent. It is considered to be less nutritious than wheat flour, however the superior thickening ability, lack of gluten, and flavorlessness of it make it a preferred choice for me.

According to information found at arrowroot is valuable as an aid for digestive ailments such as diarrhea. Add up to one tablespoon to a pint of juice or milk. As with any thickener make a paste first with some cool fluid and then add the hot fluids stirring until thickened.

Using it does take a little getting used to, if you overheat it the thickening action breaks down. I have heard that if you make homemade ice cream you can mix some in with the base and it will prevent crystals from forming in the freezer.

When using arrowroot the substitution is two teaspoons to replace one tablespoon of cornstarch or one teaspoon to replace one tablespoon of flour. Arrowroot flour can be hard to find, my best source of high quality arrowroot flour is Penzey's Spices. If you don't have a one near you, they do have an online store.

photo courtesy of Denis Conrado | Wikimedia Commons

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