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Arrowroot

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Arrowroot is a starch obtained from the rhizomes (rootstock) of several tropical plants, traditionally Maranta arundinacea, but also Florida arrowroot from Zamia integrifolia, and tapioca from cassava (Manihot esculenta), which is often labelled as arrowroot. Polynesian arrowroot or pia (Tacca leontopetaloides), and Japanese arrowroot (Pueraria lobata), also called kudzu, are used in similar ways.

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Starch

Starch

Starch or amylum is a polymeric carbohydrate consisting of numerous glucose units joined by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by most green plants for energy storage. Worldwide, it is the most common carbohydrate in human diets, and is contained in large amounts in staple foods such as wheat, potatoes, maize (corn), rice, and cassava (manioc).

Rhizome

Rhizome

In botany and dendrology, a rhizome is a modified subterranean plant stem that sends out roots and shoots from its nodes. Rhizomes are also called creeping rootstalks or just rootstalks. Rhizomes develop from axillary buds and grow horizontally. The rhizome also retains the ability to allow new shoots to grow upwards.

Maranta arundinacea

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 herb found in rainforest habitats. Arrowroot flour is now produced commercially mostly in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Arrowroot was one of the earliest plants to be domesticated for food in northern South America, with evidence of exploitation or cultivation of the plant dating back to 8200 BCE.

Florida arrowroot

Florida arrowroot

Florida arrowroot was the commercial name of an edible starch extracted from Zamia integrifolia (coontie), a small cycad native to North America.

Zamia integrifolia

Zamia integrifolia

Zamia integrifolia, also known as coontie palm is a small, tough, woody cycad native to the southeastern United States, the Bahamas, Cuba, and the Cayman Islands.

Tapioca

Tapioca

Tapioca is a starch extracted from the storage roots of the cassava plant, a species native to the North and Northeast regions of Brazil, but whose use is now spread throughout South America. It is a perennial shrub adapted to the hot conditions of tropical lowlands. Cassava copes better with poor soils than many other food plants.

Cassava

Cassava

Manihot esculenta, commonly called cassava, manioc, or yuca, is a woody shrub of the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae, native to South America. Although a perennial plant, cassava is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates. Though it is often called yuca in parts of Spanish America and in the United States, it is not related to yucca, a shrub in the family Asparagaceae. Cassava is predominantly consumed in boiled form, but substantial quantities are used to extract cassava starch, called tapioca, which is used for food, animal feed, and industrial purposes. The Brazilian farinha, and the related garri of West Africa, is an edible coarse flour obtained by grating cassava roots, pressing moisture off the obtained grated pulp, and finally drying it.

Tacca leontopetaloides

Tacca leontopetaloides

Tacca leontopetaloides is a species of flowering plant in the yam family Dioscoreaceae. It is native to Island Southeast Asia but have been introduced as canoe plants throughout the Indo-Pacific tropics by Austronesian peoples during prehistoric times. They have become naturalized to tropical Africa, South Asia, northern Australia, and Oceania. Common names include Polynesian arrowroot, Fiji arrowroot, East Indies arrowroot, and pia.

Kudzu

Kudzu

Kudzu is a group of climbing, coiling, and trailing deciduous perennial vines native to much of East Asia, Southeast Asia, and some Pacific islands, but invasive in many parts of the world, primarily North America.

History

Archaeological studies in the Americas show evidence of arrowroot cultivation as early as 7,000 years ago.[1] The name may come from aru-aru (meal of meals) in the language of the Caribbean Arawak 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, 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.[2][3]

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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 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 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.[4]

Arrowroot cultivation is now concentrated on farms located north of the Rabacca River, particularly in the Owia area. This is also the area where the population of Carib descent is concentrated. In 1998/99, the industry produced 312,000 lb (142,000 kg) 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.[4]

The plant is propagated from rhizomes and cultivation 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 soils and a hot, humid climate.[4] Some farmers produce the crop by 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 and 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 the island's arrowroot and large processing plants are located at Belle Vue and at Owia.

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Saint Vincent (Antilles)

Saint Vincent (Antilles)

Saint Vincent is a volcanic island in the Caribbean. It is the largest island of the country Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and is located in the Caribbean Sea, between Saint Lucia and Grenada. It is composed of partially submerged volcanic mountains. Its largest volcano and the country's highest peak, La Soufrière, is active, with the latest episode of volcanic activity having begun in December 2020 and intensifying in April 2021.

Garifuna

Garifuna

The Garifuna people are a people of mixed free African and indigenous American ancestry that originated in the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent and speak Garifuna, an Arawakan language, and Vincentian Creole.

Sugar

Sugar

Sugar is the generic name for sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food. Simple sugars, also called monosaccharides, include glucose, fructose, and galactose. Compound sugars, also called disaccharides or double sugars, are molecules made of two bonded monosaccharides; common examples are sucrose, lactose, and maltose. White sugar is a refined form of sucrose. In the body, compound sugars are hydrolysed into simple sugars.

Owia

Owia

Owia is a town in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. It is located in the northeast of the main island of Saint Vincent, close to the nation's northernmost point, Porter Point.

Rhizome

Rhizome

In botany and dendrology, a rhizome is a modified subterranean plant stem that sends out roots and shoots from its nodes. Rhizomes are also called creeping rootstalks or just rootstalks. Rhizomes develop from axillary buds and grow horizontally. The rhizome also retains the ability to allow new shoots to grow upwards.

Shifting cultivation

Shifting cultivation

Shifting cultivation is an agricultural system in which plots of land are cultivated temporarily, then abandoned while post-disturbance fallow vegetation is allowed to freely grow while the cultivator moves on to another plot. The period of cultivation is usually terminated when the soil shows signs of exhaustion or, more commonly, when the field is overrun by weeds. The period of time during which the field is cultivated is usually shorter than the period over which the land is allowed to regenerate by lying fallow.

Harvest

Harvest

Harvesting is the process of gathering a ripe crop from the fields. Reaping is the cutting of grain or pulse for harvest, typically using a scythe, sickle, or reaper. On smaller farms with minimal mechanization, harvesting is the most labor-intensive activity of the growing season. On large mechanized farms, harvesting uses the most expensive and sophisticated farm machinery, such as the combine harvester. Process automation has increased the efficiency of both the seeding and harvesting processes. Specialized harvesting equipment utilizing conveyor belts to mimic gentle gripping and mass-transport replaces the manual task of removing each seedling by hand. The term "harvesting" in general usage may include immediate postharvest handling, including cleaning, sorting, packing, and cooling.

Starch extraction process

Arrowroot tubers contain about 23% starch. 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.[5] 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. 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 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.

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Cooking

Custard with an arrowroot biscuit on top
Custard with an arrowroot biscuit on top

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.[6] It can be consumed in the form of biscuits, puddings, jellies, cakes, hot sauces, and also with beef tea, milk or veal broth. Kudzu arrowroot (Pueraria lobata) is used in 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%)[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.[8] 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.[9]

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Napoleon

Napoleon

Napoleon Bonaparte, later known by his regnal name Napoleon I, was a French military commander and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led successful campaigns during the Revolutionary Wars. He was the de facto leader of the French Republic as First Consul from 1799 to 1804, then Emperor of the French from 1804 until 1814 and again in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest military commanders in history. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy endures to this day; he stands as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in history.

Biscuit

Biscuit

A biscuit is a flour-based baked and shaped food product. In most countries biscuits are typically hard, flat, and unleavened. They are usually sweet and may be made with sugar, chocolate, icing, jam, ginger, or cinnamon. They can also be savoury, similar to crackers. Types of biscuit include sandwich biscuits, digestive biscuits, ginger biscuits, shortbread biscuits, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate-coated marshmallow treats, Anzac biscuits, biscotti, and speculaas.

Pudding

Pudding

Pudding is a type of food. It can be either a dessert or a savoury dish served as part of the main meal.

Cake

Cake

Cake is a flour confection made from flour, sugar, and other ingredients, and is usually baked. In their oldest forms, cakes were modifications of bread, but cakes now cover a wide range of preparations that can be simple or elaborate, and which share features with desserts such as pastries, meringues, custards, and pies.

Hot sauce

Hot sauce

Hot sauce is a type of condiment, seasoning, or salsa made from chili peppers and other ingredients. Many commercial varieties of mass-produced hot sauce exist.

Bovril

Bovril

Bovril is the trademarked name of a thick and salty meat extract paste similar to a yeast extract, developed in the 1870s by John Lawson Johnston. It is sold in a distinctive bulbous jar, and as cubes and granules. Bovril is owned and distributed by Unilever UK. Its appearance is similar to the British Marmite and its Australian equivalent Vegemite.

Broth

Broth

Broth, also known as bouillon, is a savory liquid made of water in which meat, fish or vegetables have been simmered for a short period of time. It can be eaten alone, but it is most commonly used to prepare other dishes, such as soups, gravies, and sauces.

Naengmyeon

Naengmyeon

Naengmyeon or raengmyŏn is a noodle dish of North Korean origin which consists of long and thin handmade noodles made from the flour and starch of various ingredients, including buckwheat, potatoes, sweet potatoes, arrowroot starch, and kudzu. Buckwheat predominates. Other varieties of naengmyeon are made from ingredients such as seaweed and green tea.

Sweet and sour

Sweet and sour

Sweet and sour is a generic term that encompasses many styles of sauce, cuisine and cooking methods. It is commonly used in East Asia and Southeast Asia, and has been used in England since the Middle Ages. Sweet and sour sauce remains popular in Asian and Western cuisines.

Gluten

Gluten

Gluten is a structural protein naturally found in certain cereal grains. Although, strictly speaking, "gluten" only refers to wheat proteins, in medical literature it refers to the combination of prolamin and glutelin proteins naturally occurring in all grains that have been proved capable of triggering celiac disease. These include any species of wheat, barley, rye and some oat cultivars, as well as any cross hybrids of these grains. Gluten makes up 75–85% of the total protein in bread wheat.

Carbohydrate

Carbohydrate

In organic chemistry, a carbohydrate is a biomolecule consisting of carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O) atoms, usually with a hydrogen–oxygen atom ratio of 2:1 and thus with the empirical formula Cm(H2O)n. However, not all carbohydrates conform to this precise stoichiometric definition, nor are all chemicals that do conform to this definition automatically classified as carbohydrates.

Protein

Protein

Proteins are large biomolecules and macromolecules that comprise one or more long chains of amino acid residues. Proteins perform a vast array of functions within organisms, including catalysing metabolic reactions, DNA replication, responding to stimuli, providing structure to cells and organisms, and transporting molecules from one location to another. Proteins differ from one another primarily in their sequence of amino acids, which is dictated by the nucleotide sequence of their genes, and which usually results in protein folding into a specific 3D structure that determines its activity.

Source: "Arrowroot", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 28th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrowroot.

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References
  • PD-icon.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWard, Artemas (1911). The Grocer's Encyclopedia. {{cite encyclopedia}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  1. ^ Piperno, D.; Ranere, A. J.; Holst, I.; Hansell, P. (19 October 2000). "Starch grains reveal early root crop horticulture in the Panamanian tropical forest". Nature. Springer Nature. 407 (6806): 894–897. Bibcode:2000Natur.407..894P. doi:10.1038/35038055. PMID 11057665. S2CID 4429117.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ Phruksaphithak, N.; Wangprayot, J. (2020). "Feasibility of Paper Production from Oil Palm Trunk Using Arrowroot Flour as a Binder". Key Engineering Materials. 841: 64–69. doi:10.4028/www.scientific.net/KEM.841.64. ISSN 1662-9795. S2CID 218686462.
  3. ^ Tarique, J.; Sapuan, S.M.; Khalina, A.; Sherwani, S.F.K.; Yusuf, J.; Ilyas, R.A. (27 May 2021). "Recent developments in sustainable arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea) starch biopolymers, fibres, biopolymer composites and their potential industrial applications". Journal of Materials Research and Technology. Elsevier. 13: 1191–1219. doi:10.1016/j.jmrt.2021.05.047. ISSN 2238-7854. S2CID 236231260.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ a b c Martin, C. I.; K. A., Leslie; W. B., Charles; P. H., Haynes; E. F., Iton; Egvert, A. Tai (1967). "The arrowroot industry in St. Vincent: A case study of a unique root crop industry in the First Triennial Symposium of Tropical Roots and Tuber Crops, Volume 2, Section V" (PDF). University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 April 2022.
  5. ^ Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Arrow-Root" . Encyclopedia Americana.
  6. ^ Bee Wilson (29 October 2001). "Thick and thin". New Statesman. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
  7. ^ Aprianita, A; Vasiljevic, T; Bannikova, A; Kasapis, S (2013). "Physicochemical properties of flours and starches derived from traditional Indonesian tubers and roots". Journal of Food Science and Technology. 51 (12): 3669–3679. doi:10.1007/s13197-012-0915-5. PMC 4252420. PMID 25477633.
  8. ^ Starch Thickeners at The Cook's Thesaurus
  9. ^ Arrowroot Powder Is A Thickening Agent
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