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Potato starch is made through an extensive process of washing, sometimes cooking, and then separating the starch present in potato cell walls so that it can be made into powdered or liquid form. In cooking, potato starch is often considered a substitute thickener for corn starch or white flour. However, it has a higher heat point than cornstarch, so it may be superior for certain foods that require high temperatures. Another benefit to potato starch, especially as compared to wheat flour as a thickener, is that it is gluten free.
This means folks who want nice thick gravy, or soups or stews, but haven't been able to achieve this with flour due to gluten intolerance, can use potato starch instead with excellent results. Like cornstarch, you generally have to dissolve the potato starch in a little bit of water before adding it as a thickener so it will blend easily with other ingredients. Many people especially prefer starch made from potatoes or corn when thickening sauces because it can help the sauces remain translucent; whereas flour creates a more muddied appearing sauce. This humble starch is making its mark as being environmentally friendly and easy to use in lots of recipes.
How to select
Many types of potato starch are available in the market, some in organic forms if you want to avoid pesticides. It is occasionally sold as starch flour or potato flour instead, but usually all names refer to the same starch. Check the expiry date before buying. Potato bread made with the starch or flour is often sweet and excellent, though check labels on commercial brands because they may contain some wheat flour.
· With the lack of gluten, potato starch could be used to substitute for wheat flour in a variety of recipes, greatly enhancing the number of gluten free products we can make.
· Potato starch flour / potato starch has a neutral taste, and is an excellent choice for thickening sauces, gravies, stews, and soups
· It also produces superior flour-free sponge cakes, for it absorbs and retains moisture to a far greater degree than wheat flour and produces cakes with a lighter texture.
· A corn-free kosher ingredient, it is also typically used by Jewish cooks in place of flour and cornstarch during Passover.
How to store
Potato starch should be stored in an air tight container in a cool dry place.
· This potato starch is considered to have similar physiological effects and health benefits as fiber: it provides bulk, offers protection against colon cancer, improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity,
· It also lowers plasma cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations, increases satiety, and possibly even reduces fat storage
· Since potato starch is gluten free, it is very useful for people with gluten intolerance or wheat sensitivity.
· It is a good source of energy.