Foodie Friday: 6 Ways to Use Arrowroot Powder in Your Kitchen
Arrowroot powder is most commonly known simply as an alternative to cornstarch. But, did you know it can be used in many more ways than just as a thickener?
One of our favorite resources, Nourishing Traditions, says, “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.”
Here’s a list of six ways to use arrowroot powder (also called arrowroot flour).
1. Ice cream
If you’ve ever made homemade ice cream, you know that an overnight freeze makes it almost impossible to scoop! Adding arrowroot powder prevents the formation of large ice crystals and keeps it from turning hard as a rock in the freezer.
Try incorporating a tablespoon of arrowroot powder to your next quart of homemade ice cream and see the improved texture for yourself.
2. Homemade cake flour
How many times have you tried to bake a whole-grain cake and then been terribly disappointed by the heavy, dense outcome? Commercial cake flour is simply a low-protein, refined wheat flour with cornstarch added, and it’s easy enough to recreate that light cake texture by substituting arrowroot instead.
For every cup of flour called for in a cake recipe, substitute 3/4 cup hard white wheat flour plus 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (sifted together with a fine mesh strainer). You can use this formula to get a lighter texture in muffins and scones, too.
3. Baby teething biscuits/crackers
Cheerios are a standard on-the-go snack for babies, but arrowroot crackers are an easy alternative that actually provide some nutrition, especially when combined with other whole-grain flours.
4. Fruit sauce
Arrowroot has a neutral flavor and performs well at low temperatures, so it’s a good choice for quick sauces. Try a simple fruit sauce over pancakes, waffles, crepes and ice cream sundaes. You can make it with blueberries, cherries, strawberries, peaches, plums . . . almost any soft fruit can be used.
Some fruit crisp, cobbler or pie recipes call for cornstarch to thicken the fruit filling. Substitute arrowroot powder instead, using 1 tablespoon of arrowroot for every 1.5 cups of fruit.
5. Thickening foods
Keep a jar of arrowroot powder close to the stove and stir some into any recipe that needs a little thickening. (But don’t use arrowroot as a thickener in recipes that call for dairy, as it can yield a slimy and unattractive result.)
Sometimes baby food purees come out very runny. Longer cooking evaporates the excess liquid, but also tends to lower the nutrient value. Instead, stir in a little arrowroot powder for thickening along with a bit of added nutrition. This can also be helpful when toddlers are learning to feed themselves; thicker soups are easier for little tykes to spoon on their own.
6. In gluten-free baking
One key to successful baking without gluten is getting the correct ratio of starch (from corn, tapioca, or arrowroot) in relation to the “grittier” flours (such as rice and sorghum). Arrowroot can often be blended with other starchy flours to yield a tasty baked item.
How do you use arrowroot powder? Please share your tips in the comments below!