When it comes to cooking, cornstarch is one of the most essential ingredients in your pantry. Not only does it thicken soups, stews, and sauces, but it also helps to bind ingredients together in baking. Cornstarch has been around for over a century and is still a staple in most households. However, have you ever wondered how much it costs to produce or how much it’s really worth? In this article, we will dive deep into the value of cornstarch and share some interesting facts you might not have known before.
What is Cornstarch?
Cornstarch is a finely ground powder that is made from the endosperm of corn. It is a white, odorless, and tasteless powder that is used as a thickening agent in cooking. Cornstarch is also known as cornflour in some parts of the world. It is often used as a substitute for wheat flour in gluten-free recipes.
How is Cornstarch Made?
The manufacturing process of cornstarch involves washing the corn kernels to remove the outer hull and germ. The clean kernels are then steeped in water and sulfur dioxide, which helps to break down the starch into simpler molecules. The liquid mixture is then separated from the hulls and germ by centrifugation. The remaining liquid is then dried into a fine powder, which we know as cornstarch.
Where is Cornstarch Used?
Cornstarch is a versatile ingredient that is used in a variety of dishes worldwide. It is commonly used as a thickener in gravies, soups, and sauces, as well as in desserts like pudding and custard. Cornstarch is also used in baking to help bind ingredients together and create a smooth texture. Additionally, it is used in the manufacturing of paper, textiles, and bioplastics.
How Much Does Cornstarch Cost?
The cost of cornstarch can vary depending on a variety of factors such as location, brand, and quantity. On average, a 16-ounce box of cornstarch costs around $1.50 to $2.00. However, larger quantities can be purchased for a lower price per ounce.
Is Cornstarch Healthy?
Cornstarch is a high-starch, low-protein ingredient that is not considered very healthy in large quantities. It is high in calories and has a high glycemic index, which can cause blood sugar levels to spike. Additionally, cornstarch is often used as a thickener in processed foods, which can lead to overconsumption. However, cornstarch is gluten-free and can be a useful ingredient in gluten-free recipes for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities.
The Benefits of Using Cornstarch
- Cornstarch is gluten-free and can be used as a substitute for wheat flour in gluten-free recipes.
- It is a great option for those who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivities.
- Cornstarch is a great thickening agent that can be used in a variety of dishes, including gravies, sauces, and soups.
- It creates a smooth texture and does not add any flavor to the dish.
- Cornstarch is often used in baking as a binder to hold ingredients together.
- This helps to create a smooth texture and prevents crumbling.
The Drawbacks of Using Cornstarch
High in Calories
- Cornstarch is high in calories and can contribute to weight gain if consumed in large quantities.
- It has a high glycemic index, which can cause blood sugar levels to spike.
- Cornstarch is often used as a thickener in processed foods, which can lead to overconsumption.
- Processed foods are often high in sodium, sugar, and other additives that are not good for you.
- Cornstarch is a nutrient-poor ingredient that does not provide any significant vitamins or minerals.
- It should be used in moderation as a part of a balanced diet.
The Final Verdict
Cornstarch is a versatile and essential ingredient in cooking and baking. It is used as a thickening agent, binder, and in the manufacturing of various products. However, it is important to note that cornstarch is high in calories, nutrient-poor, and often used in processed foods. While it can be a great option for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, it should be used in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
1. NutritionData. (n.d.). Cornstarch Nutrition Facts & Calories. Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5683/2
2. Wzorek, L., & Fombuena, V. (2019). Starch-based and other biodegradable plastics: Overview and perspectives. Polymers, 11(9), 1378. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11091378
- Q: Is cornstarch and cornflour the same thing?
- A: Yes, cornstarch and cornflour are the same thing. The term “cornflour” is commonly used in the UK, while “cornstarch” is more commonly used in the US.
- Q: Can cornstarch be used as a substitute for flour?
- A: Yes, cornstarch can be used as a substitute for flour in some recipes. However, it does not have the same binding properties as flour, so it may not work in all recipes.
- Q: Is cornstarch bad for you?
- A: Cornstarch is not necessarily bad for you, but it is high in calories and nutrient-poor. It should be used in moderation as part of a healthy diet.
- Q: How much does it cost to produce cornstarch?
- A: The cost to produce cornstarch can vary depending on a variety of factors such as location, labor costs, and equipment costs. However, on average, it costs around $0.25-$0.30 per pound to produce cornstarch.
- Q: Can you make your own cornstarch?
- A: Yes, you can make your own cornstarch by grinding dried corn kernels into a fine powder. However, it can be time-consuming and may not be as fine as store-bought cornstarch.