The Most Easily Digestible Thickener — Arrowroot!
When that sauce is too thin, what do you do? A lot of cooks reach for cornstarch, which is a great option. But it’s not always the best option. In fact, it may make things worse in some cases! That’s why I’m doing this series on thickeners, so you (and I) can choose the best thickener for the job. And now, let’s dive into arrowroot.
This thickener is a great option if you’re looking to keep things low glycemic or you’re concerned about avoiding anything genetically modified. It’s also one of the easiest starches to digest, so it’s a great option if you have digestive issues.
Because arrowroot is processed in a more natural way, no chemicals are generally added (but check the packaging just to be sure, as it may vary from brand to brand). It’s also important to check the label to be sure no other starches, such as potato starch, have been added. While natural as well, you will have better results if you use pure arrowroot.
Arrowroot is a great choice for thickening sauces or gravies, giving structure to desserts, as a binding agent, to create a crust on tofu, veggies, or meat, or to create a light and airy texture in your baked goods.
If you’re cooking to feed your freezer, arrowroot freezes well so it’s a great choice.
Gluten-Free, Citrus Friendly!
Good news for gluten-free and citrus lovers! This thickener fits into both groups. However, avoid using milk or other dairy products for the best results. Unlike cornstarch that can create a chalky taste, arrowroot is virtually taste-free.
A quick word about appearance, arrowroot is known to leave things somewhat clear, silky, and glossy. Neither good nor bad on its own, but this may be something to keep in mind if maintaining clarity or glossiness is something you are looking to create or avoid.
- Use conservatively! If using in place of cornstarch, start with half the recommend amount. If you’re not sure, start with 1 teaspoon arrowroot for every cup you want to thicken and add more if needed.
- Mix the arrowroot with a little liquid, then add to whatever you want to thicken and keep the heat low. Simmer — do not boil! High heat will break down the starch, reducing its thickening abilities.
- Continue to stir while your food thickens, which usually only takes a couple minutes. Repeat with more arrowroot to make thicker.
- Make a Simple Fruit Topping by adding 1 Tablespoon arrowroot to 1 Tablespoons water.
- Add the mixture to 1 cup berries and cook until thickened. Add 1/4 cup water, if needed, so fruit doesn’t burn.
- Add a few drops of liquid stevia after taking fruit off heat, if you want it sweeter.
- Delicious on top of desserts, pancakes, yogurt, oatmeal, etc.