The starch industry extracts and refines starches from seeds, roots and tubers, by wet grinding, washing, sieving and drying. Today, the main commercial refined starches are cornstarch, tapioca, wheat, rice and potato starch. To a lesser extent, sources include rice, sweet potato, sago and mung bean. Historically, Florida arrowroot was also commercialized. To this day, starch is extracted from more than 50 types of plants.
Untreated starch requires heat to thicken or gelatinize. When a starch is pre-cooked, it can then be used to thicken instantly in cold water. This is referred to as a pregelatinized starch.
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