Is corn a starch?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Is corn a starch?”. We will also talk about how corn starch is made, uses of corn starch, nutritional facts about the corn starch, and the substitutes for corn starch.

Is corn a starch? 

No, corn is not a starch but is a starchy vegetable from which starch is produced just like from other starchy vegetables such as potatoes.

Corn is considered a fruit, vegetable, and also grain depending on the maturity and the harvesting stage of the corn. The maturity level and harvesting stage of the corn also determines its use and nutrient value.

The corn when harvested at maturity which is dry with no water content is considered a whole grain. This corn type is used for popcorns or if milled into cornmeal or corn flour to make tortillas and cornbread.

The corn that is juicy, filled with liquid, and soft when harvested is considered a starchy vegetable and can be eaten fresh, on the cobb, or added to different dishes to add texture and taste.

How is corn starch made?

Corn starch or sometimes referred to as cornflour is a starch derived from corn. The corn starch is obtained from the endosperm and the germ of the corn kernel which is separated from the kernel and soaked separately. The starch is removed from the corn steep liquor, cereal germ, and corn gluten using centrifuges and hydrocyclones. 

This process is called wet milling. The separated starch is then dried and ackaged. Corn starch is a highly processed food that has a lot of use in many sectors of industries including food.

What is corn starch used for?

Corn starch is used in various industries from cooking to manufacturing and has several benefits.

Cooking 

Corn starch is commonly and widely used as a thickening agent in many dishes that are liquid-based such as gravies, stews, soups, sauces, and custard. It has a gelatinous effect when mixed with water and cooked. The starch needs to be heated over 203 F to start the process of starch gelatinization which makes the liquid thick.

One should be mindful of not adding the corn starch directly to a lot of liquid as it will become lumpy. It should be added to a small bowl with warm or temperate water to make a slurry-like consistency and then added to the main dish to thicken the liquid.

Corn starch can also be added to baking by replacing wheat flour as corn search is a gluten-free option for celiac people. It is also mixed with other flours to make a crispy batter for deep frying purposes.

Manufacturing industry 

Corn starch is used as the main ingredient in making baby powders. It is also used to manufacture bioplastics and adhesives used to paste papers. The adhesive made out of corn starch is better than the wheat flour-based adhesive as the corn starch dries with a slight sheen.

Medical 

Corn starch has an anti-stick property which is why it is preferred on medical products made out of natural latex such as condoms, diaphragms, and medical gloves. Corn starch also has the ability to supply glucose to maintain blood sugar levels in people suffering from glucogen storgae disease.

What is the nutritional value of corn starch?

The corn starch is made without the germ and the bran of the corn kernel which are the main parts that are nutrient-rich. Corn starch is all carbs and calories and less vital nutrients such as fiber, minerals, protein, and vitamins.

The nutrient value of a cup of corn starch which is 128 grams is as mentioned below.

  • Calories: 488
  • Protein: 0.5 grams
  • Carbs: 117 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Copper: 7% of the Daily Value
  • Selenium: 7% of the Daily Value
  • Iron: 3% of the Daily Value
  • Manganese: 3% of the Daily Value 

What are the substitutes for corn starch?

The corn starch can be substituted by other flour made from starchy vegetables. Arrowroot made from potato starch is an equal and good substitute, tapioca flour is also an excellent substitute but needs to double the amount used compared to corn starch.

Rice flour is also an excellent substitute for corn starch but instead of 1 spoon of corn starch, 3 spoons of rice flour need to be added in order to get the desired thickness.

Conclusion 

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Is corn a starch?”. We also talked about corn starch is made, uses of corn starch, nutritional facts about the corn starch, and the substitutes for corn starch.

I hope you find this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.

References 

https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/Is-corn-a-grain-or-a-vegetable

https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-corn-starch-1328466

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-cornstarch-bad-for-you

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