All families have in their homes basic and essential products that can never be missing in the kitchen cupboard.
They are indispensable because they play an important role in cooking and baking, but they can also be used for other purposes.
One such product, for example, is Maizena (cornstarch), which has culinary, industrial, and even medical uses.
Maizena is a white, fine-textured powder made up of complex carbohydrates, easily digested and a source of energy. It is a product of corn starch and is used to prepare food mixtures for children, as a base for preparing desserts and as a thickener, among other uses that you will learn about below.
Cornstarch and corn flour are obtained from corn kernels. When the husk is removed from the corn, all the remaining kernel is used in the flour, while in cornstarch the germ is also removed.
Flour is milled, while cornstarch is left to ferment slightly, and then the starch is removed and left to dry.
Maizena is a nutritious food and ideal for diets with special requirements. 100 grams of Maizena has nutrients such as iron, protein, calcium, fiber, potassium, sodium, vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B7, B9, B12, among others. It is low in cholesterol and has no sugars, making it ideal for children and people with high blood sugar levels or high cholesterol.
It is used for infant feeding in the form of atoles, porridges and compotes. It is also used in the preparation of breads, cakes, puddings, flans, custards, pastry creams, sponge cakes, ice cream and to thicken sauces, soups, stews and creams.
It is also used to coat meats, poultry and fish. To thicken sauces, desserts and other preparations, just dilute the starch in a little water or milk and incorporate it into the recipe.
Maizena is a basic ingredient in the preparation of doughs and desserts for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. It can be used alone or mixed with rice flour or potato starch, for both savory and sweet recipes.
The use of Maizena is not restricted only to cooking and food. Maizena can be used as a homemade talcum powder to soothe skin rashes and irritation as well as to treat sunburn.
It can also be used to soothe the skin when exposed to insect bites, or for other skin conditions that cause irritation. It can be used as a facial cleanser to control oiliness; it also helps to eliminate unpleasant odors and to control excessive sweating.
At home it can be used to remove ink stains that appear on clothing or any surface, and to untangle knots of rope or cords, because rubbing them with a little cornstarch makes it easier to untangle them.
The way it is used depends on the purpose for which it will be used. If it is to be used in the preparation of breads or cakes, it should be included just as the recipe says.
If it is to be used as a thickener, it should be previously dissolved in a cold liquid, and then when heating it, stir it constantly so that lumps do not form.
In the preparation of sauces, soups, the procedure is the same and it is taken to the fire until the mixture adopts the desired consistency, but in this case it should not be stirred.
If it will be used as an all-purpose starch, mix 2 tablespoons of Maizena in 1/2 cup of cold water, mix until dissolved, once dissolved, boil 1 cup of water and add to the previous mixture and finally add 1 cup of cold water.
Maizena cream is a food that is consumed hot, commonly as breakfast or dinner.
To prepare this recipe you need the following ingredients: 1 cup of milk, 4 teaspoons of Maizena, 2 teaspoons of sugar (to taste), 1 pinch of salt, lemon zest, ½ teaspoon of vanilla, 1 cinnamon stick, ½ teaspoon of butter.
The procedure is very simple: Dilute the Maizena in a portion of the milk to be used, then join all the ingredients and cook over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens. Serve hot and add a little cinnamon on top to add more flavor.
In Venezuela, Maizina Americana is marketed under the brand name Alfonzo Rivas y Cía. This is a white, powdered product, very soft and refined, used in the preparation of foods that require softness and consistency.
In Venezuela, a non-enriched version of cornstarch is also marketed under the commercial name of Almidón Plancholín, also manufactured by Alfonzo Rivas & Cia. This product is used in ironing clothes and creating handcrafts, and in general it is a multi-purpose starch.
Now, did you know all the utilities that can have a product that we can easily get in our homes? Now the next time you buy Maizena for your recipes, you already know that you can use it for other purposes, and you will be making the most of it.