Arrowroot is made from a tropical plant called Arrowroot. It is made from the roots of a tropical plant called Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea).
Arrowroot is a healthy substitute for corn starch. Cornstarch is an irritant to the stomach whereas arrowroot is easily digested and even helps in settling an upset stomach. It is similar to cornstarch in appearance but once cooked it is clear and shiny rather than cloudy and translucent. Arrowroot is used as a thickener in sauces & puddings and often in gluten free baking.
Arrowroot does not have a high nutritional value but does have some very helpful effects for the body.
Arrowroot as medicine:
- It was first used to draw the poison out of wounds caused by poisoned arrows by the Caribbean Indians. They grew it for food and for its healing properties as far back as 1600. Later the Europeans learned of this and continued this practice.
- helps in settling an upset stomach.
- historically it was fed to children and people with fragile digestive systems.
Arrowroot is produced in a simple natural process whereas cornstarch and potato starch are highly processed, and treated with chemical bleaches and toxic extracting agents.
Kudzu, also known as kuzu is made from the root of the kudzu plant that grows wild in the mountains of Japan and in the southern U.S. Kuzu strengthens the digestive tract.
It is native to Japan and China where it has been used for over 2,000 years medicinally and as a starchy food.
- is rich in organic iron, calcium, and phosphorus.
- has a significantly high flavonoid content.
Kudzu/Kuzu as Medicine:
- relaxes smooth muscle tissue
- effective in easing night cramps and tension headaches.
- supports nerve tissue.
- the starch in kuzu soothes minor gastrointestinal difficulties.
- reduces high blood pressure, relieves chronic migraine headaches; and eases tension in the shoulders, neck and head according to research in Beijing, China.
- being high in flavonoids lowers cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of blood clots.
- used for over 1,000 years by Asian herbalists for alcoholism and to curb alcohol craving.
Caution in Growing Kudzu:
It grows very well; the vines grow as much as a foot per day during the summer. They climb trees, power poles, and anything they can grow up on. Kudzu vines can grow sixty feet in one year thus the vines can also destroy valuable forests by preventing trees from getting sunlight. In 1972 USDA declared kudzu to be a weed! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kudzu_in_the_United_States See photo below showing how Kudzu grows.
Although I prefer to use Kudzu, arrowroot is way more economical.
Cooking with Arrowroot and Kudzu
- Both can be used for thickening sauces, gravies, puddings etc. I always have both in my kitchen.
- Dissolve in cool water, usually 1 tablespoon per arrowroot/kuzu to 2 tablespoons liquid, mix well, then stir slowly into whatever sauce etc. you are cooking. You will see the liquid start to thicken, continue to stir and let cook for at least about five minutes.
- If you don’t mix the arrowroot well, it can have a chalky aftertaste. Make sure you mix it well and stir it in slowly and thoroughly while cooking.
- It is good to use in baking in small quantities in place of any other starches.
Caution: DO NOT use 40 – 50% as some of the gluten free websites are suggesting! It is a starch and I recommend only using a very little because it is a starch which means it is one step away from being a sugar and you know what that means.
Banana Pudding This is a very easy pudding to make for a quick dessert.
Pear Upside Down Cake – Vegan and Gluten Free
Apple Cake with Cinnamon – Gluten Free This is a deeply satisfying cake filled with healthy ingredients.
Learn More About Arrowroot and Healthy gluten Free Baking:
Read my article on The Dangers of Common Gluten Free Recipes And Products
Also, read the difference between flours and starches: Starch VS Flour: How Do They Compare For Your Health
If you REALLY want to learn to bake healthy and also gluten free I suggest my Healthy Baking BootCamp. In one weekend you will get the knowledge and experience of produce sinfully delicious AND healthy desserts – from the comfort of your home.
Copyright © Diana Herrington www.RealFoodforLife.com