WHAT IS CORNSTARCH?
It’s also called corn flour though technically the two are different. The starch comes from the corn kernel which is ground into a fine powder. Much like arrowroot, it’s a popular thickening agent in many recipes both in Europe and Asia. The process to make it was invented in the 1800’s in New Jersey by Thomas Kingsford. However initially it was only used as a starch for laundry cleaning. Today it’s not only a popular thickening agent in food, it’s also used as a deodorant or even a stain remover.
WHERE IS THE BEST CORNSTARCH MADE?
No one place in particular since the starch is mixed to be consistent.
WHAT IS THE TRICK TO KEEPING CORNSTARCH FROM CLUMPING?
If you just add it to the recipe you want to thicken, you’ll end up with clumpy balls of corn. You need to first create a slurry. This is equal parts cornstarch and a cold liquid (water will suffice).
HOW SHOULD CORNSTARCH BE STORED?
Moisture is the enemy so store in a cool, dark place sealed in an airtight bag. It doesn’t refrigerate or freeze well. This also means that sauces thickened with it also won’t freeze well. In that case tapioca or wheat are better thickening choices. If a gluten free option is needed arrowroot or potato starch are other options as well.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CORN STARCH, CORN FLOUR AND JUST PLAIN FLOUR?
While all three are thickeners, flour is made from wheat and the other two are made from corn. Cornstarch is transparent when creating a gel versus wheat which is more opaque. Cornflour is ground from whole corn kernels while cornmeal is a coarse ground flour made from dried corn kernels.