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Cornstarch: like or dislike?


[Welcome to Like or Dislike, where you get to share how you really feel about ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, and favorite cooking gear. The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell.]

Cornstarch is enjoying a resurgence in my pantry these days. Not only is it a great coating for stir-fried foods, but it's also my thickener of choice when I make stews and some sauces. Because it's gluten-free, cornstarch helps me cook for my gluten-free friends. And you can buy cornstarch in every grocery store, everywhere (in other countries, it's called corn flour), which makes it much more convenient than arrowroot, the other thickener I use in gluten-free cooking. To make a cornstarch solution for thickening, stir together 1 part cornstarch with 2 parts water (or other liquid), until the cornstarch dissolves. Couldn't be easier.

Cornstarch: like or dislike?

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In this hemisphere, are not corn flour & corn starch different? or not? I remember years ago trying to thicken a high sugar liquid with cornstarch, & it was not happening --later learned that adding more water was needed to allow the reaction to happen--good to remember. A forever used method for thickening. Have arrowroot but never remember to use it, and not informed of advantages of one over the other. Cornstarch seems to be added to bread ingredients, not sure why, & not sure I like the result. Did I not see one of my favourite TV bakers say to add cornstarch to pastry flour if you need all-purpose flour & have none--have I got that right or forgotten an essential fact?

LIKE! i grew up in a home where my folks used cornstarch not only for making gravies/sauces but it was a multi-purpose product around our home....we'd deodorize the carpet with it before vacuuming, deodorize shoes, used it as a dry shampoo—even on the dog, we used it on bug bites (skeeters), poison ivy, etc....there were many other uses, those are just what i remember off the top of my head....i've used arrowroot before, but it's not as easily found as cornstarch...i usually end up ordering arrowroot online, which at times is inconvenient, so.....cornstarch is still king around here ;0)

Love it and use it all the time in my household. I love it for thickening sauces ,gravies, and have added it to various bread and cookie recipes. Plus it's also great as a body powder when your sweaty in the heat and humidity. It is a great choice for babies too because it is pure and not perfumed like baby powder.

Cornstarch is one of those ingredients I never give much thought to, but it's always in my pantry, ready when I need it.

In some ways the starches are fairly interchangable. Cornstarch, tapioca starch, arrowroot, etc. can do just about all of the functions mentioned. I usually don't second guess and go with what the recipe calls for.
For me, there is a concern that commercially grown corn in the US is presumed GMO unless organic or stated to be GMO-free. I have some Rumford Cornstarch which is labeled 'Non-genetically modified corn.'
(I believe that what we call 'corn flour' in the US -- finely ground corn, used as flour, which Bob's Red Mill and others carry -- in the UK and other places it's the word for US cornstarch, the all carb starch from corn.
Bug bites! yes, I remember that.

I'm not a big fan of cornstarch and usually thicken things by reducing on the stove. But if I have a recipe that *has* to be thickened, I'll use it.

BTW, I subscribe to your blog, but I didn't get an e-mail for this post, just FYI.

Yes! Always there...

Like. It's the thickener of choice for Chinese food. I also use it in gravy when I want that semi translucent look. I actually prefer gravy thickened with cornstarch over gravy made with flour.

Love corn starch! It makes gravy and sauces sooo smooth. Dip scallops in it and then fry those happy little bites...wonderful!

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