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Frequently Asked Questions

INGREDIENTS
NUTRITION
STORAGE
COOKING / PREPARATION

 

 

Argo Dish

 

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INGREDIENTS

What is corn starch?

Corn starch is a natural, odorless carbohydrate that is found in the corn kernel.

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Are there any other ingredients in corn starch?

No. Argo's corn starch is 100% pure corn starch.

 

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NUTRITION

Is corn starch gluten-free?

Yes. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other cereals. Gluten is not present in corn starch, which makes it an excellent substitute for flour in many recipes. In many baked goods like bread and cake, however, gluten plays an important structural role, and gluten containing ingredients, like flour, are necessary.

 

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STORAGE

How long can Argo Corn Starch be stored?

Before or after opening, uncooked Argo Corn Starch are good to use to prepare recipes for an indefinite period of time. Corn starch may be stored indefinitely if it's kept dry.

 

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COOKING PREPARATION

How is corn starch used in cooking?

Convenient and versatile, corn starch is used as a thickener for gravies, sauces and glazes, soups, stews and casseroles. It also thickens pies and is an essential ingredient in corn starch puddings and cake fillings. In cakes, cookies and pastries, corn starch is often mixed with flour to produce more tender baked goods. It also is used to coat foods before frying, and as an ingredient in batters. Visit our Recipe section for delicious classic and contemporary recipes using Argo Corn Starch.

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What are the advantages of using corn starch rather than flour?

Corn starch thickens with a satiny smoothness and glossy appearance. It adds no taste of its own to mask the flavor of foods. Recipes thickened with corn starch have a brighter, more translucent appearance than those thickened with flour. Corn starch also blends more easily with cold liquids than flour because it doesn't absorb liquid until it's cooked.

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Can you use corn starch in place of arrowroot, potato starch or all-purpose flour when thickening sauces or gravies, preparing puddings, or making pies?

Corn starch has the same "thickening power" as arrowroot, potato starch and tapioca, and you should substitute the same amount. Corn starch has twice the "thickening power" of flour, so it's necessary to use only half as much. Example: If recipe calls for 1/4 cup of flour, use just 2 tablespoons corn starch.

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What are the basic techniques for cooking with corn starch?

Cooking with corn starch is easy when you follow a few simple guidelines. The following basic techniques assure good results every time.

• Amount of stirring. Gradually stir cold liquids into corn starch until completely smooth. Continue to stir gently during entire cooking period. When adding ingredients after cooking, remove the mixture from the heat and stir them in quickly and gently. Stirring too vigorously may cause mixture to break down and thin out.

• Temperature. Cook over medium-low to medium heat. Cooking over high heat can cause lumping. If mixture contains egg, high heat may curdle it.

• Cooking time. Stirring constantly, bring mixture to a full boil and boil 1 minute. After boiling 1 minute, the starch granules will have swelled to their full capacity, causing the mixture to thicken. Significantly overcooking thickened mixtures such as puddings, pies and cake fillings may cause mixture to thin out as it cools.

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My recipe using corn starch seemed perfectly thickened when it was just cooked, but thinned and was watery after it cooled. What happened?

Corn starch mixtures that don't thicken at all, or thicken during cooking, then thin out during cooling are disappointing. One or more of the following may have caused the problem.

• Too Little Liquid: If there is not enough liquid (water, milk, juice) in the mixture, the corn starch granules will not fully swell and remain thickened when the mixture cools. Adding a little more liquid (not more corn starch) is likely to solve the problem.

• Too Much Sugar: A higher proportion of sugar than liquid (water, milk, juice) in a mixture can interfere with the swelling of the corn starch granules and prevent thickening during cooking and/or cause thinning during cooling. Adding more liquid (not more corn starch) will often solve the problem.

• Too Much Fat: An excessively high proportion of fat or egg yolks in a mixture can interfere with the swelling of the corn starch granules and prevent thickening during cooking and/or cause thinning during cooling. Adding more liquid (not more corn starch) will usually solve the problem.

• Too Much Acid: Acid ingredients such as lemon juice, lime juice or vinegar will reduce the thickening ability of the starch or prevent the mixture from thickening. Increase the starch level slightly or stir acid ingredients in after cooking.

• Too Much Stirring: Excessive or rough stirring with a wire whisk or even a spoon may break the starch cells and cause the mixture to thin out.

• Excessive Cooking: Simmering or boiling a corn starch thickened mixture for an extended period of time may cause the starch cells to rupture and the mixture to thin.

• Tasting: The digestive enzymes in a person's mouth will cause a properly thickened mixture to thin dramatically in just a few minutes. Be sure to use a clean spoon when tasting a corn starch thickened mixture to correct the seasoning.

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Sometimes the filling for Lemon Meringue Pie seems to "weep" or water out a little. Is it easy to prevent?

Weeping or the release of water is usually a sign of slight undercooking. In the early stage of cooking, the water is held rather "loosely" by the corn starch granules, and when the mixture cools, the water simply runs out. It's simple to stop weeping. Just be sure to bring the corn starch mixture to a full boil over medium heat and, stirring constantly, boil for 1 minute. It might be helpful to set a timer or watch the second hand on the clock for a minute.

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Can corn starch thickened foods be frozen?

Not after they're fully cooked. Freezing causes corn starch thickened foods to thin out. Freeze a fruit pie thickened with corn starch before baking.

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How do I use Argo's corn starch to make all-purpose flour perform more like cake flour?

The recipe for cake flour is a follows: For each cup of cake flour use 7/8 cup all-purpose flour (1 cup minus 2 tablespoons) PLUS 2 tablespoons of corn starch. The addition of corn starch helps to make cakes light and tender.

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