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Arrowroot flour from almost anything.  RSS feed

 
Jeffrey Hodgins
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Location: Yucatan Puebla Ontario BC
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Arrowroot flour is normally made by grinding or blending a high carb plant, adding water, mixing, pouring the water into a vessel to settle, pouring the water off leaving a paste in the bottom of the vessel and tending the paste to dry in the sun.

Some traditional plants to use are potatoes, cassava, cat-tail, and duck potatoes (also known as arrowroot).

Some grasses and fruits may hold potential to be processed in the same way producing a potentially lower carb product but none the less a staple food made from something you wouldn't consider a staple.
I plan to test this theory with Mexican hawthorn, pear, green corn stalk, sunchokes, agave and various bean tubers.
 
Jami McBride
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This is interesting Jeffery, I'd love to know how your experiments work out.

I had no idea how arrowroot was made. Can you tell me why recipes call for it, what purpose does it serve exactly?

 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
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Brings to mind something I saw while watching Japanese TV the other night, program on some rainforest tribe in Borneo (?). Watched this guy chop down a 50' tree that looked like some sort of palm with a stone axe. He then split the trunk in half, they started hacking up the fibers and then running lots of water through the half-trunk into a channel made of large leaves. In the final leaf, all the starch was settled out in a giant pink mass - apparently about 2 weeks of calories for the family in that one tree. My japanese is weak, so I don't know any other details.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Jonathan Byron
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Arrowroot flour originally referred to a particular starch with particular properties that came from the arrowroot plant. Then came the counterfeits and imitations.

Cattails, kudzu and cannas are other plants to add to the list of plants that can be processed to yield starch.

You might want to be cautious if you can get a 'starchy' powder from sunchokes. It contains little or no starch, but inulin. Inulin ferments in the gut, and can cause gas and other forms of discomfort. Purified, fast-acting sunchoke powder would pack a stronger, faster punch.
 
Jeffrey Hodgins
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Location: Yucatan Puebla Ontario BC
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The palms mentioned above are called sago palms. I'm not sure if the hardy sago palms sold in US and Canada have edible starch or not. See posts below
Fig leaf squash might be a good candidate for this process as it too is high in starch and grows like a weed. I know it does well in cool climates like coastal Washington or BC
 
Robert Ray
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Jerusalem artichoke flour is something I want to try to make Dehydrating and grinding is how I've seen it asthe processing method. DeBoles makes a line of sunchoke pastas. I haven't seen it or the flour locally but it is available.
The flour is gluten free for those with that problem.
 
Jonathan Byron
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True sago palm has been used for starch. Most of what is called 'sago palm' in the US are various species of cycads. Cycads are used as famine food in some Pacific Islands, and their consumption has been linked with outbreaks of neurological disease, liver problems and cancer (probably why those cultures avoid them unless they are dying of starvation).
 
Dale Hodgins
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Sago palm was a staple amongst the low landers from New Guinea. The labor-intensiveness and low quality of this food contributed to malnutrition. This environment was so low in natural protein sources that people were forced to eat their own dead. Creutzfeldt Jacob disease which is the human equivalent of mad cow disease was first documented amongst the people of New Guinea. It was most common among women as they were traditionally fed the brains of the deceased.

Since the introduction of the sweet potato and pigs these people have been far better nourished. The labor to get a similar quantity of starch from sweet potato is far less and it contains plenty of beta-carotene and protein. No need to eat grandpa!
 
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