Maize Starch & its Versatility

July 22, 2020

Maize Starch is one of the most versatile kitchen staples known to humankind. Even though it is used in the manufacturing process of most of the products used in our everyday routine, but it’s often under-utilized.
When talking about Maize Starch, it would be totally unfair if we don’t mention Mr. Thomas Kingsford. Thomas Kingsford invented Maize Starch in 1840 when he was working in a wheat starch factory owned by Colgate & Company in Jersey City. However until 1850, Maize Starch was used primarily for laundry and as an industrial binder and was not considered edible. Once it was recognized as a food, cookbooks started publishing recipes that included it.

WHAT IS MAIZE STARCH? Maize Starch commonly known as Corn Starch is a polymer of long chain of sugar molecules, extracted from the endosperm of Corn. It is a white to creamish white powdered substance which contains zero protein but is rich in carbohydrates and is gluten free.
Maize Starch is classified into 3 grades: Food Grade, Industrial Grade  & Pharma Grade 
When we say Maize Starch (Corn Starch), the first thing that comes to your mind is corn flour. But they are two different products. Maize Starch (Corn Starch) and corn flour, both are thickening agents made from corn but both differ in nutrient profile, uses, gluten content and flavor.

Corn flour is the process of grinding corn kernels into a fine powder. Whereas, on the other hand Maize Starch (Corn Starch) is made by removing the protein and fiber of the corn kernel, leaving only the starchy center called the endosperm.

With each passing year the consumption of food is increasing and year on year the growth of textile as well as paper industry, is creating a high demand for Maize Starch.
Now that you know what Maize Starch is, let us look at the applications of Maize Starch industry wise.

FOOD INDUSTRY: Maize Starch is most commonly used in food as a texture enhancer because of its thickening properties. It is used as thickening agent for making the sauces, gravies, glazes, soups, casseroles, pies and other desserts. When heated in presence of moisture, it unravels and swells resulting into thickening of the material. It is used in confectioneries as it creates a thin layer around the product and prevents it from having watery texture. The fact that maize starch is cheaper than the cane sugar makes it most applicable alternative for the confectionery. Instead of using the flour alone, maize starch is used in mixes as it forms a translucent, rather than opaque mixture.
PAPER INDUSTRY: Maize Starch is used in paper industry as a sizing agent to increase the strength of the paper. It is used for coating the paper to enhance the appearance of the paper along with it printability. It also acts as an adhesive in manufacturing the corrugated carton boxes.
TEXTILE INDUSTRY: Maize Starch is used in textile industry as a sizing agent to provide stiffness to the clothes and to increase its weight.
PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY: Maize Starch is used in pharmaceuticals as a binding or coating agent for capsules or tablets. Other than that it is also used as a filler to increase the size of the capsule or tablet.
These are the few conventional uses of Maize Starch. But when we talk about Maize Starch, it is incredibly versatile ingredients to have on hand. Let’s have a look at some interesting and innovative DIYs using Maize Starch:

AS DRY SHAMPOO: Sprinkling a small amount of Maize Starch on a hair will remove most of the grease all in a fraction of the time and leave your hair looking clean and dry
TO CLEAN WOODEN FURNITURE: Maize Starch can be used to clean wooden furniture in order to buff away the marks or stains.
AS A WINDOW CLEANER: It works as a natural abrasive and since it is superfine in texture, it enables you to make your windows appear absolutely streak free.
AS A SILVER POLISH: Maize starch can be used to polish silver to bring out the natural shine in silver objects.
AS A SMELL BUSTER: Yes, maize starch can be used as a superabsorbent. Due to its fine texture, it sucks up all kinds of bad smell.
AS GREASE STAIN CLEANER: Maize Starch has a superfine texture which will absorb the grease and will keep the carpet absolutely clean.
The results of these DIYs are magical as well as time and money saving.
From these applications we saw that Maize starch is one of the prominent raw materials, which have been used extensively in varied industries. Till now it was a forgotten product and lying at the corner of the shelf in our kitchen. But now as we are aware of the multipurpose usage of Maize Starch, we should dust off the box and try to make good use of it in our everyday life.

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