Straw Mulch For Garden Vegetable Garden

What Is Starch?

The term “starch” refers to any plant material with a high water content (such as corn stalks or rice hulls) that is used in the production of food products such as bread, pasta, noodles, tortillas, cakes and cookies. The word starch comes from the Latin word starchum which means “to turn over.” The word starch is derived from the Greek words stachos meaning “turn,” and keros meaning “water.”

In addition to being used as food, starch is also used in many industrial processes including papermaking, chemical manufacturing, plastics processing and pharmaceuticals.

Why Use Starch?

Starch helps foods retain moisture better than other plant materials. When cooked properly, most vegetables are able to hold onto their moisture longer when they’re cooked with starch rather than without it.

When cooking vegetables with starch, the resulting food product tastes sweeter and less bitter than if cooked without it.

Starch is often added to soups, sauces and gravies because it adds flavor and texture.

It’s also used as a thickener in baked goods such as brownies, cookies and cake mixes. It makes these foods easier to roll up into small packages so they don’t get soggy too quickly.

How Is Starch Obtained?

Some plants have more starch than others and it’s a simple matter of separating the useful parts of the plant from the rest of it. Certain types of plants that are high in starch include potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, peas, beans, yams and wheat. The process of separating these useful parts from the rest of the plant is called extraction.

What Chemicals Are Involved?

Chemicals are rarely used in the process of making starch, but a few exceptions do exist. For example, certain types of corn need to be treated with lye before being dried so that they’ll ferment properly.

Where Is It Done?

It’s rarely even necessary to do this at a special factory or production center, since most people cook at home.

What Is It Made Of?

Like we just said, it’s rarely even necessary to make the stuff. Most people usually cook at home and extract their own starch. However, there are certain types of plants that need to be mashed up and boiled in a certain way before they can be used to thicken foods or create beverages like beer. These plants include potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, peas, beans, yams and wheat.

How Is It Used?

After the plant pieces are mashed up, they’re boiled in water for several hours. If the water starts to taste bitter or soapy, then it means that the temperature of the water is too high and it should be lowered slightly. Starch begins to form fairly quickly and eventually a thick, grayish liquid with a gluey texture will be produced. The cooked mixture is then left to cool and will thicken further as it does so. The liquid that results from the extraction of the starch is known as a “slurry.”

Cooking With Starch

Starch can be used in any recipe that calls for flour. A half-cup of flour can typically be replaced by two tablespoons of starch. It’s also a great thickener and can be used in place of cornstarch or arrowroot.

Starch does have its limits, however. It can’t be used to make cookies or other baked goods, it simply doesn’t have the right texture.

Some people who follow a gluten-free diet use a mixture of starch and other ingredients like bananas, eggs and baking soda to create “bread” of some kind. These loaves don’t taste like the real thing and are mainly used as a replacement for people who can’t eat gluten.

Straw Mulch In Gardens: Tips For Using Straw As Mulch For Vegetables on igrowplants.net

Where Can It Be Found?

Sources & references used in this article:

Soil properties and vegetable production with organic mulch and no-tillage system by H ARAKI, M ITO – Japanese journal of farm work research, 1999 – jstage.jst.go.jp

Mulching vegetables: practices and commercial applications by JW Courter, JS Vandemark… – Circular (University of …, 1969 – ideals.illinois.edu

Organic mulching-A water saving technique to increase the production of fruits and vegetables by P Ranjan, GT Patle, M Prem… – Current Agriculture …, 2017 – agriculturejournal.org

Influence of mulches on the colonization by adults and survival of larvae of the Colorado potato beetle (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) in eggplant by S Campbell – 2012 – Storey Publishing

Mulching for a healthy landscape by KA Stoner – Journal of Entomological Science, 1997 – meridian.allenpress.com

Water Conservation Tips by D Relf – 2009 – vtechworks.lib.vt.edu

Wheat yield depression associated with conservation tillage caused by root pathogens in the soil not phytotoxins from the straw by M Brown – 2008 – escholarship.org

Vegetable garden hints by RJ Cook, WA Haglund – 1991 – pubag.nal.usda.gov

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