Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tip Tuesday–Cornstarch

That box or can sits on most of our pantry shelves, but do we really know where it comes from? Cornstarch is a finely-ground thickening agent made from the endosperm (a portion of the white heart) of the corn kernel.

In order to thicken properly, the cornstarch should be mixed with a cold liquid (this is called a “slurry”), then stirred into hot liquid, being sure to stir constantly to avoid lumps. Allowing the liquid to come to a full boil will bring the mixture to its full thickness.

Substitutions for 1 tablespoon cornstarch:

All of these work well as a substitute. Just be sure to stir well to avoid lumping.

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granular tapioca
1 tablespoon arrowroot


One ounce of cornstarch contains 107 calories, 26g carbohydrates, 1% iron and 3 mg sodium, with no fat, cholesterol, calcium or protein.

Other Uses:

Cornstarch is sometimes used as a substitute for talcum powder as it is a more natural product.

Fun Stuff:

You can use cornstarch in a scientific experiment that kids will love – make a dilatant. Mix 1 part water to 1 1/2 or 2 parts cornstarch. When sitting, the mixture is a more liquid. But if you pound it or put pressure on it you’ll find it’s solid. You can, however, slowly sink your hand down into it.

Another way to use cornstarch is to make your own bath powder. Thoroughly mix equal parts baking soda and cornstarch. Add your favorite essential oil, a couple of drops at a time, mixing after each addition. Allow to sit for a day or two before using for best results.


There is a disease called “amylophagia” in which people eat cornstarch, often in large quantities. This is thought to be due to missing nutrients in the diet.



1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 

Mix dry ingredients; gradually blend in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Add vanilla. Pour into serving dishes; chill until set. 

Chocolate Variation

Follow directions as above, but increase sugar to 1/2 cup and add 1/3 cup baking cocoa with dry ingredients. Continue cooking as directed. 

Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook.
Looking on the bright side….

“One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one is always having surprising discoveries.”  
(A.A. Milne)
Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. Thanks for reading!

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