Potato starch is considered a great alternative to corn starch and wheat flour as thickening agent. Its chief advantage especially over wheat flour is its gluten free composition which lets it be used to thicken soups and sauces. One of the main reasons why people like potato starch is to give the sauces a translucent effect. Wheat flour on the other hand gives it a more muddy appearance. One of the potato starch most frequent uses is to make thickeners and binders. Potato starch is also used in fast food, processed meats, baked goods, noodles, pet foods, shredded cheese, sauces, gravies, soups, sweets and sausages. They are also used in tablets and paper products. Another of the uses of the potato starch is yeast filtration and as an added ingredient for some cosmetic products.
One of the most popular forms of the potato starch is the organic one. It often bears the name starch flour or potato flour but refers to the same item. With potato starch a lot of gluten free recipes can be made. The bread from potatoes made using the potato starch has a very nice sweet taste. But be careful to check the label while buying as they are often mixed with wheat flour.
The energy collected by the leaves by photosynthesis is used to make a sugar solution which is stored as grains of starch inside the potatoes. This starch needs to be extracted before being used. This is done by an extensive process of washing and cooking. Potatoes consume a portion of their own starch. When the temperature drops in winter a portion of the starch is converted into sugar to make an extra coating that helps them survive the winter. If there is abnormal increase in heat a lot of starch is used up in respiration and the potato may die in the process.
Potatoes need to be carefully transported and stored. Blows and improper storage conditions easily damage potatoes resulting in starch loss and perished potatoes. Buffer silos and drop curtains are used during unloading to minimize impact. All loose dirt and gravel need to be removed. Careful washing helps to remove any dirt. The secret of getting good potatoes to the refinery is to reach for the potatoes at the bottom every day as potatoes are damaged very fast by pressure and lack of ventilation.
The first step at the refinery is rasping where the tuber cells are opened to release the starch granules. Sulfur is used in the form of Sulfur dioxide gas and sodium bisulphate solution to prevent the starch from coming in contact with air to react with air to form colored compounds. Powerful washing then flushes out the starch completely from the cells. The potato juice made during extraction is used as fertilizer. The process to extract the potato juice uses filters that rotate and the centrifugal action helps to make the extraction faster. Potato starch is a these days a very valued thickener and is a valued product for the food processing industry.Potato Starch Uses