Organic Arrowroot Powder
Used almost exclusively as a thickener, arrowroot powder has little to no flavor but gives a mouthfeel like butter when used properly. It adds that silkiness you wouldn't normally be able to find with something that isn't butter. Made from the starches of the tubers of Maranta arundinacea, arrowroot powder can also be used in baking, frying, and roasting.
Arrowroot powder is also called arrowroot starch and arrowroot flour. In Arabic it is "alarwrwt naba'at", in Mandarin it is "gegen", in French you will hear "marante", in German it is "arrowroot," in Hindi "araarot," in Japanese "Kuzuukon", in Portuguese it is "araruta", Russian speakers say "arrorut," and in Spanish it is "arrurruz."
The name comes from a medicinal use of the past. Arrowroot was originally used to help draw poison out of wounds inflicted by poison-drenched arrows, especially in South American and Caribbean communities. Another origin story for the name however is the less commonly known word "araruta" which means "root flour." The etymology of "arrowroot" is not one hundred percent certain, but what hasn't been lost to history is the incredible way arrowroot powder interacts with other foods.
Archeologists have found evidence of arrowroot being cultivated over 7,000 years ago. Between 1900 and the mid-1960s, arrowroot powder was a major export for St. Vincent. It was used as both a food and an ingredient in medicine. At the height of its popularity in the 19th century, it was more widely cultivated than sugar, but has since declined in popularity as its widespread use has decreased steadily over time.
The first record of the word arrowroot in English comes to us from documents dated in the 1600s. There is a recorded story from 1681 where a group of Carib people were approaching the home of some English settlers when they shot a man with a poison arrow. Through the window, the people inside the home saw this happen and when the group reached their home, asking for a drink, they stated they would only give them drinks if they would go to the man and cure him with arrowroot. They refused to do so, saying the man deserved to die.
An Englishman named James Walker brought arrowroot to Barbados in 1668 and then later introduced it to an English settlement in Jamaica after he learned about its medicinal properties from watching Carib people use it. Evidence of the use of arrowroot powder as a thickening agent by English settlers is present all the back into the 18th century, with some documentation that people were using it as an ingredient in soup to feed large groups, especially slaves. Slaveholders were often in search of ways to feed their slaves more cost effectively and thickening with arrowroot powder was a simple way to bulk up soups and make them feel heartier. In England, the plant was widely regarded as a botanical curiosity until the 19th century when they began incorporating it into food.
In 1930s America, arrowroot powder had a burst of popularity because bakers and confectioners were discovering new uses for it, meaning the imports from St. Vincent to the United States increased exponentially. Today, arrowroot is used in the production of baby foods and puddings, especially for the mass market.
Arrowroot Powder is primarily cultivated in Jamaica and St. Vincent. Arrowroot requires constantly moist soil, and does best in tropical climates with minimal sun exposure or full sun exposure with partial shade. It can survive in clay-rich soil, but it will not be as high quality as it is when it grows in loose, sandy soils. It can be planted through cuttings of the plant or tubers. Pests and disease are not a problem for this plant, unlike most other tropically grown plants.
Arrowroot tubers are harvested just as the plant turns one in order to yield the best starch for arrowroot powder. This starch is made by washing harvested tubers to remove the paper-like skins, grinding the washed tubers into a pulp, and then mixing that pulp with water. The mixture of pulp and water is strained to remove any leftover fibrous materials and then set aside to settle and air dry. What's left behind, the starch solids, is then ground into the fine powder we call arrowroot powder.
Our Organic Arrowroot Powder is grown in India.
If your recipe requires little cooking time or needs thickening at the end of the process, arrowroot powder is an asset. It can thicken at lower temperatures than flour or cornstarch, and it perfect for use in clear liquids. It's useful in fruit glazes or dessert fruit sauces. It's easiest to add arrowroot powder to your recipe by creating a slurry first. A slurry is a term used to describe a mixture of two or more ingredients- one being a solid and one a liquid. In this case, you will want to make a slurry with some arrowroot powder incorporated into it before you add the powder to your recipe directly. Adding arrowroot powder to a liquid that is very hot without first creating a slurry will cause the starch molecules to swell and clump up immediately instead of evenly mixing into the liquid. Once the arrowroot powder has been added and the sauce is thickened to your desired consistency, remove your pot from the heat source and cease cooking. Something to note is that this powder doesn't perform the same way with dairy based sauces, so you should experiment before deciding to incorporate this powder in place of flour into something like a cream sauce. The only exception here is that arrowroot powder is a phenomenal ingredient in making homemade ice cream.
Arrowroot powder is incredible for making things crispy. Coating your favorite French fries or tofu in arrowroot powder before you pop them in the oven will make them crispier and more delicious than if you had simply baked them.
Overcooking arrowroot will break down the amylopectins in the starch. Since these are what gives the starch its thickening qualities, a breakdown would mean your sauce will thin out again.
It's excellent in making jellies or fruit sauces. Arrowroot powder is popular in gumbos, and it is good in recipes like Instant Pot General Tso's Style Chicken as well. Add arrowroot powder with a gentle hand and add more if you require more thickening. Adding too much at the get go will leave you with a gloopy mess, not the beautifully thickened dish you were envisioning.
Arrowroot is most frequently used United States as a powder and thickener in other dishes, not eaten as a whole. While young, arrowroot tubers can be diced and eaten in many of the same ways you would eat a potato. If it gets too old, an arrowroot tuber will become hard and fibrous. It's best to harvest and consume the plant before it is a year old. When whole, it's more of a vegetable than a spice.
Arrowroot powder has a neutral flavor that is essentially tasteless. It mostly adds a silky mouthfeel when added to sauces, or similarly liquid food types.
Arrowroot powder is a unique ingredient! Generally speaking, a tablespoon of this powder will thicken a cup of liquid but add slowly until you get to your desired consistency. You can use it as a replacement for flour, with one and a half teaspoons of arrowroot powder replacing a single tablespoon of flour. When replacing cornstarch, you will need two teaspoons of arrowroot for every one tablespoon of cornstarch.
Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*