View Full Version : Corn starch and FBC

05-18-2012, 08:24
Just had a thought today. If I add too much water to my freezer bag meal, can I add corn starch to thicken? Has anyone ever tried this? I've heard people say add mashed potatoes but I don't know how that will effect taste.

Hikes in Rain
05-18-2012, 08:52
I think corn starch would take a bit of additional cooking to act as a thickening agent. The instant potatoes don't, and the taste of undoctored potatoes is bland enough you shouldn't notice a difference.

05-18-2012, 09:18
Agree spuds may be the way to go.I've added corn starch/flour to chili to thicken,an it imparts a shinny finish like chineese food(the starch anyway),which I didn't care for,but did not notice the taste.Spuds will soak it up very quickly,where as the corn starch and or flour you may have to fool with for a bit.....but give it a shot,experiment.

05-18-2012, 09:20
When you thicken a product w/ cornstarch the standard method is to make what's called a slurry first
Here's what you need to know about that process
Depending on what your trying to thicken
4 parts water - 1 part corn starch = thin soups, light sauces
4 parts water - 2 parts corn starch = hearty soups etc..
4 parts water - 21/2 parts corn starch = chowders, heavy sauces
Remember, use cold water and mix thoroughly
Corn starch is activated by heat, so you need to bring your liquid to a high simmer or low boil to achieve total thickening and to cook the starch flavor out
Arrowroot is another albeit more expensive option
and here's what you need to know about that option
Arrowroot is a popular edible starch, derived from the roots of the West Indian plant known as arrowroot or Maranta Arundinacea. It is so called because it was traditionally used to treat wounds caused by poison arrows. It contained medicinal properties that would kill poisonous substances and heal the wounds. It is also used as a cooking agent, and is a popular substitute for cornstarch. Arrowroot is a white powder that is similar in appearance to cornstarch. When you see it you may believe that it is highly processed, but that is its natural appearance, and in fact an effective way of identifying pure arrowroot flour. There are several benefits as well as drawbacks of using arrowroot vs. cornstarch. Find out everything about this cornstarch substitute here.

How to Use Arrowroot Vs. Cornstarch

To use arrowroot powder as a cornstarch substitute, prepare it in the following manner.

2 teaspoons Arrowroot Flour = 1 tablespoon Cornstarch (3 teaspoons Cornstarch)
1 tablespoon to 1 cup of liquid, when used as a thickening agent

Benefits of Using Arrowroot Vs. Cornstarch

Arrowroot flour has a variety of benefits when compared to cornstarch. Take a look at a few mentioned here.

While cornstarch is known to have a peculiar flavor, i.e. it affects the flavors of the recipes it is used in, arrowroot flour is relatively neutral in flavor and tasteless. It is a particularly good thickening agent for dishes that have delicate flavors.

It mixes well with liquids at a lower temperature, unlike cornstarch, and can be cooked for longer periods. It also has the capacity to tolerate ingredients that are acidic in nature, so you can use arrowroot flour to prepare a delicious hot and sour oriental sauce.

You may have noticed that when you prepare a sauce with cornflour, and when it is refrigerated or frozen, it becomes jelly-like and messy. On the other hand, if you make a sauce with arrowroot, you can easily freeze it and thaw it, without creating a mess.

The use of arrowroot as a thickening agent is ideal for vegetarians, as its ability to thicken into jelly makes it the perfect gelatin substitute. The properties of cornstarch for this purpose are not as effective.

Arrowroot powder also makes a great thickening agent when you want to prepare a clear sauce that gives a beautiful glaze to desserts. On the other hand, cornstarch tends to make sauces appear cloudy. Also, when used to prepare ice creams, it prevents the formation of ice crystals.

Drawbacks of Using Arrowroot Vs. Cornstarch

In spite of all its benefits, there are certain drawbacks of using arrowroot vs. cornstarch. Take a look at some of them mentioned here.

If you are preparing a sauce that is dairy based, using arrowroot instead of cornstarch is not a great idea. This is because the sauce with dairy products turns slimy when arrowroot is used.

Arrowroot flour has the ability to create a beautiful, glossy appearance, that works great when used for desserts. However, the negative aspect is that if it is used for a meat sauce, it gives it an unreal glaze, and perhaps a distasteful appearance.

Arrowroot does not take to overheating well, and this can affect its thickening properties. To use arrowroot while cooking at high temperatures, first mix it with an equal amount of cool liquid. Then pour this liquid into the hot sauce and let it blend only for 30 seconds.

Research has shown that arrowroot is often adulterated with potato starch that affects all its benefits. Thus, you should be extremely careful while buying it. To identify pure arrowroot, you should observe its texture, which is fine, light, pure white, and odorless.

With all its benefits, you should know that the price of arrowroot powder vs. cornstarch is higher.

All the benefits and drawbacks of arrowroot powder vs. cornstarch have been mentioned here. Now, the use of arrowroot as against cornstarch completely depends on the recipe you are preparing. It is up to you to decide where it is going to be suited better, and how it will affect the ultimate outcome."
This is embarrassing
Although I've made sauces for living I've never used the instant mashed potatoes option for thickening a product But it should work w/o altering the taste of the product
Personally I would add the mashed potatoes in small amounts , stir to incorporate , allow a moment to achieve maximum thickening and then add more as needed.

05-18-2012, 09:21
You have to cook it to break down the starch for thickening otherwise its wallpaper glue.

05-18-2012, 10:09
Although I seldom carry it on the trail (but I don't carry corn starch or arrowroot either), I've used cream of rice cereal to thicken dishes at home on more than a few occasions. Cooks in about 60 seconds, thickens up more while sitting.

And unlike other thickeners, if you do carry it you can always eat it by itself.

05-18-2012, 18:59
Depending on the entree, I add couscous to use up the excess water.

There is a thread (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?82952-Knorr-Pasta-Sides-adjustment-for-FBC-cheap-add-on-at-50-cent-meals) about getting the water just right.

06-30-2012, 19:38
Pssstttt just carry instant plain potatoes or shelf-stable Parmesan cheese (I prefer the cheese). It binds up any extra water right away.

06-30-2012, 19:47
Just had a thought today. If I add too much water to my freezer bag meal, can I add corn starch to thicken? Has anyone ever tried this? I've heard people say add mashed potatoes but I don't know how that will effect taste.

Try xanthium gum. Thickens without heat.

09-13-2012, 20:19
Ditto on the instant potatoes, because the cornstarch will have a tendancy to clump unless you mix it with melted butter or vegetable shortening......to make a roux. You can also use plain or italian seasoned bread crumbs to thicken a dish.