Starch

A solid carbohydrate that is granular in form and naturally present in many plants such as grains (wheat or rice), pulses (corn), tubers (potatoes), and numerous other plant species. When cooked, starch can affect foods as it changes the stability, texture and viscosity of the item being prepared. It is a substance commonly used to alter various aspects of foods being manufactured as well as being prepared. As an example, sticky rice is a short grain variety of white rice that sticks together when cooked. This variety is generally used for commercial product formulations rather than home recipes, converting the rice starch and flour into food binders for fillings, gravies and sauces. The starch and flour can withstand refrigerated conditions without separating when frozen or thawed, becoming an excellent option for frozen food formulations. During food preparation, different varieties of foods cook into a very dense consistency due to the higher ratio of starch, thus affecting the preparation and results when finished, similar to the reaction occurring with rice. In some instances the results are desireable, such as achieving a binding texture necessary when making sushi. However, in other instances, starches can adversely affect the way foods appear, taste or react, so it is best to gain a good understanding of the properties of this carbohydrate when preparing foods.

USDA Nutrition Facts

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