arrowroot
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Arrowroot is a
starch Starch or amylum is a polymeric A polymer (; Greek '' poly-'', "many" + '' -mer'', "part") is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, ...
obtained from the
rhizome In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the An ...

rhizome
s (rootstock) of several tropical plants, traditionally ''
Maranta arundinacea '' Maranta arundinacea'', also known as arrowroot, maranta, West Indian arrowroot, obedience plant, Bermuda arrowroot, araru, araruta, ararao or hulankeeriya, is a large, perennial plant, perennial herb found in rainforest habitats. Arrowroot ...
'', but also Florida arrowroot from ''
Zamia integrifolia ''Zamia integrifolia'' is a small, tough, woody cycad native to the southeast United States (Florida, Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia), the Bahamas, Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti), and Puerto Rico. The species is ...

Zamia integrifolia
'', and
tapioca Tapioca (; ) is a starch Starch or amylum is a polymeric carbohydrate consisting of numerous glucose Glucose is a simple sugar with the Chemical formula#Molecular formula, molecular formula . Glucose is the most abundant monosaccharide, a s ...

tapioca
from
cassava ''Manihot esculenta'', commonly called cassava (), manioc, or yuca (among numerous regional names) is a woody shrub A shrub (or bush, but this is more of a gardening term) is a small- to medium-sized perennial woody plant. Unlike herb ...

cassava
(''Manihot esculenta''), which is often labelled as arrowroot. Polynesian arrowroot or pia (''
Tacca leontopetaloides ''Tacca leontopetaloides'' is a species of flowering plant in the Yam (vegetable), yam family Dioscoreaceae. It is native to Island Southeast Asia but have been introduced as canoe plants throughout the Indo-Pacific tropics by Austronesian people ...
''), and Japanese arrowroot (''
Pueraria lobata ''Pueraria montana'' var. ''lobata'', the East Asian arrowroot, is a perennial plant in the family Fabaceae. Names It is called ''gé'' () in Chinese language, Chinese, Kudzu, ''kuzu'' () in Japanese language, Japanese, and ''chik'' () or ''ga ...
''), also called
kudzu Kudzu (also called Japanese arrowroot or Chinese arrowroot) is a group of climbing, coiling, and trailing perennial vines native to much of East Asia, Southeast Asia, and some Pacific islands, but invasive species, invasive in many parts of the ...

kudzu
, are used in similar ways.


History

Archaeological studies in the
Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of south and is perpendicular to East and West. ''North'' ...

Americas
show evidence of arrowroot cultivation as early as 7,000 years ago. The name may come from ''aru-aru'' (meal of meals) in the language of the Caribbean
Arawak The Arawak are a group of indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are native to a particular place. The te ...
people, for whom the plant was a staple. It has also been suggested that the name comes from arrowroot's use in treating poison-arrow wounds, as it draws out the poison when applied to the site of the injury. In the early days of
carbonless copy paper Carbonless copy paper (CCP), non-carbon copy paper, or NCR paper (No Carbon Required, taken from the initials of its creator, National Cash Register) is a type of coated paperCoated paper (also known as enamel paper, gloss paper, and slick paper) i ...
, arrowroot, because of its fine grain-size, was a widely used ingredient. After an economical way of centrifugally separating wheat flour was devised, arrowroot lost its role in
papermaking Papermaking is the manufacture of paper and cardboard, which are used widely for printing, writing, and packaging, among many other purposes. Today almost all paper is Pulp and paper industry, made using industrial machinery, while handmade paper ...
.


Cultivation in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Saint Vincent has a long history of arrowroot production. The industry started as the food and medicine of the Carib and
Garifuna The Garifuna people ( or ; pl. Garínagu in Garifuna language, Garifuna) are a mixed African and indigenous peoples of the Americas, indigenous people who originally lived on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent (Antilles), Saint Vincent and ...

Garifuna
peoples, and developed to the status of a major export of St. Vincent during the period 1900 to 1965. It became an important commodity in colonial trade in the 1930s. As the
sugar Sugar is the generic name for , soluble s, many of which are used in food. Simple sugars, also called s, include , , and . Compound sugars, also called s or double sugars, are molecules made of two monosaccharides joined by a . Common examp ...

sugar
industry declined in the nineteenth century, cultivation of arrowroot was developed to fill the void. Since then, the area cultivated has declined steadily as other crops, particularly bananas, have gained wider acceptance by farmers. Evidence of its former importance is indicated by the ruins of the various magnificent 19th-century factories located in valleys on the St. Vincent mainland.The arrowroot industry in St. Vincent: A case study of a unique root crop industry. C. I. Martin. First Triennial Symposium of Tropical root and tuber crops. University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad. 1967. Editors: Egvert A. Tai, W. B. Charles, P. H. Haynes, E. F. Iton, K. A. Leslie. Vol 2 Section V Arrowroot cultivation is now concentrated on farms located north of the Rabacca River, particularly in the
Owia Owia is a town in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. It is located in the northeast of the main island of Saint Vincent (island), Saint Vincent, close to the nation's northernmost point, Porter Point. References

Populated places in Saint Vi ...
area. This is also the area where the population of Carib descent is concentrated. In 1998/99, the industry produced of starch, about 3% of the peak level in the 1960s. In the past, the St. Vincent arrowroot industry played an important role in the economy of the island, contributing close to 50% of the country's foreign export earnings, and was the principal source of employment and income of the rural people from the 1930s to the 1960s. The plant is propagated from
rhizome In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the An ...

rhizome
s and
cultivation Cultivation may refer to: * The state of having or expressing a good education (bildung), refinement (culture), refinement, culture, or high culture * Gardening * Agriculture, the cultivation and breeding of animals, plants and fungi * Fungiculture ...
takes place at elevations up to 300 metres on the eastern and windward facing side of the highlands of St. Vincent. Cultivation covers an area of about 3,700 ha and some 80% of the crop is grown by small farmers. The arrowroot plant is very hardy and not very demanding in its requirements. St. Vincent, particularly the north-east coast, provides the ideal growing conditions for optimal yields; deep, well drained, slightly
acidic An acid is a molecule File:Pentacene on Ni(111) STM.jpg, A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecules, which consist of linear chains of five carbon rings. A molecule is an electrically neutral group of two or more atoms ...
soils and a hot, humid climate. Some farmers produce the crop by
shifting cultivation Shifting cultivation is an agricultural Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated ...

shifting cultivation
on the cleared forested slopes. The harvesting season extends from October to May. On the larger estates, the harvesting of the rhizome usually proceeds from the base of a hill towards the top. Harvesting involves breaking off the rhizome from the shoot.
Planting Sowing is the process of planting. An area or object that has had seeds planted in it will be described as a sowed area. Plants which are usually sown Among the major field crops, oats, wheat Wheat is a grass widely Agriculture, cultiva ...

Planting
and
harvesting Harvesting is the process of gathering a ripe crop from the field (agriculture), fields. Reaping is the cutting of grain or pulse (legume), pulse for harvest, typically using a scythe, sickle, or reaper. On smaller farms with minimal mechan ...

harvesting
are inter-related in that when the rhizomes are harvested the shoot is replanted at the same time. In St. Vincent, much use is made of rural unemployment and many women workers are involved in the various phases of operation. Mechanical harvesters have recently been introduced, allowing faster arrowroot harvesting. Six factories
process A process is a series or set of Action (philosophy), activities that interact to produce a result; it may occur once-only or be recurrent or periodic. Things called a process include: Business and management *Business process, activities that pro ...
the island's arrowroot and large processing plants are located at Belle Vue and at Owia.


Starch extraction process

Arrowroot tubers contain about 23%
starch Starch or amylum is a polymeric A polymer (; Greek '' poly-'', "many" + '' -mer'', "part") is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, ...
. They are first washed, and then cleaned of the paper-like scale. The scales must be carefully removed before extracting the starch because they impart a disagreeable flavour. After removing the scale, the roots are washed again, drained and finally reduced to a pulp by beating them in mortars or subjecting them to the action of a
wheel rasp File:Roue primitive.png, An early wheel made of a solid piece of wood In its primitive form, a wheel is a circular block of a hard and durable material at whose center has been bored a hole through which is placed an axle bearing (mechanical) ...
. The milky liquid thus obtained is passed through a coarse cloth or hair sieve and the pure starch, which is insoluble, is allowed to settle at the bottom. The wet starch is dried in the sun or in a drying house. The result is a powder, the "arrowroot" of commerce, that is quickly packed for market in air-tight cans, packages or cases. Arrowroot starch has in the past been quite extensively adulterated with potato starch and other similar substances. Pure arrowroot, like other pure starches, is a light, white powder (the mass feeling firm to the finger and crackling like newly fallen snow when rubbed or pressed), odourless when dry, but emitting a faint, peculiar odour when mixed with boiling water, and swelling on cooking into a perfect Gelatin, jelly, which can be used to make a food that is very smooth in consistency—unlike adulterated articles, mixed with potato flour and other starches of lower value, which contain larger particles. Microscopically the arrow root starch is oval in shape and with hilum at the proximal end.


Cooking

Arrowroot was very popular in the Victorian era, and Napoleon supposedly said the reason for the British love of arrowroot was to support the commerce of their colonies. It can be consumed in the form of biscuits, puddings, Jelly (fruit preserves), jellies, cakes, hot sauces, and also with Bovril, beef tea, milk or veal broth. Kudzu arrowroot (''Pueraria lobata'') is used in Naengmyeon, noodles in Korean and Vietnamese cuisine. In the Victorian era it was used, boiled with a little flavouring added, as an easily digestible food for children and people with dietary restrictions. In Burma, arrowroot tubers, which are called artarlut, are boiled or steamed and eaten with salt and oil. Arrowroot makes clear, shimmering fruit gels and prevents ice crystals from forming in homemade ice cream. It can also be used as a thickener for acidic foods, such as East Asian sweet and sour sauce. It is used in cooking to produce a clear, thickened sauce, such as a fruit sauce. It will not make the sauce go cloudy, like cornstarch, flour, or other starchy thickening agents would. The lack of gluten in arrowroot flour makes it useful as a replacement for wheat flour for those with a gluten intolerance. It is, however, relatively high in carbohydrates and low in protein (approximately 7.7%) and does not provide a complete substitute for wheat flour in bread-making. Arrowroot thickens at a lower temperature than flour or cornstarch, is not weakened by acidic ingredients, has a more neutral taste, and is not affected by freezing. It does not mix well with dairy, forming a slimy mixture. It is recommended that arrowroot be mixed with a cool liquid before adding to a hot fluid. The mixture should be heated only until the mixture thickens and removed immediately to prevent the mixture from thinning. Overheating tends to break down arrowroot's thickening property. Two teaspoons of arrowroot can be substituted for one tablespoon of cornstarch, or one teaspoon of arrowroot for one tablespoon of wheat flour.Arrowroot Powder Is A Thickening Agent
/ref>


See also

*Polynesian arrowroot


References

*


External links


arrowroot paper
{{Authority control Crops originating from the Americas Economy of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Edible thickening agents Root vegetables Starch