The etymology of starch takes us to the Latin word faecŭla. The term is used to refer to a carbohydrate that is usually found in cells of the estate, the tubers and the seeds of certain plants.

To understand what starch is, therefore, you first have to focus on the idea of carbohydrate. Also called carbohydrates or carbohydrates, carbohydrates are organic substances which are made up of oxygen, hydrogen and carbon, the first two elements appearing in a ratio of two to one.


Starch, when in contact with boiling water, generates a viscous liquid.

Starch characteristics

Starch functions as a reserve of Energy for vegetables. Is about tiny grains that can be extracted and used to feed animals and humans.

It is interesting to note that starch cannot be dissolved in alcohol or cold water. When boiled in the Water, generates a thick, viscous liquid whitish in color.

If the starch comes in contact with the iodineon the other hand, it acquires a bluish hue. It should be remembered that iodine or iodine is a chemical element present in seawater and in nitrate from Chile, for example.

Differences with starch, flour and cornstarch

Confusions are often generated between the starch, the starch, the cornstarch and the flour. All these products are used in the kitchen and have similar characteristics, although they are not exactly the same.

Gastronomic preparation

Soups can be thickened thanks to the addition of starch.

As we explained above, starch is a carbohydrate present in many plants. The starch, according to the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), it is also a carbohydrate that acts as an energy reserve. What is the difference between the two? When carbohydrate is obtained from the grains of cereals, it receives the name of starch; otherwise, the usual thing is to talk about starch. Therefore, starch and starch differ in their origin.

The flourFor its part, it is a powder that is produced by grinding seeds or, in some cases, legumes and tubers. While starch is a carbohydrate, there are other compounds in flour as well, such as gluten and water.

Refering to cornstarch, according to RAE It is the name given to fine ground corn flour. You can also use the term cornstarch, which is a trademark and which includes different products (such as cornstarch and various premixes).

What is starch used for?

Starch is often used in gastronomy to thicken preparations such as purees, stews and soups. It is also used to give an elaboration of greater consistency or unctuousness; join components; make a batter or create a dough.

To avoid the formation of lumps, the usual thing is to first dissolve the starch in warm water (since, as we said, it is insoluble in cold water). Then the mixture to the preparation in question, already hot.

In some cases, starch can be replaced by starch, flour or cornstarch. But it depends on the recipe: compared to starch, to mention one case, starch thickens faster.

It is interesting to note that substances such as potato or potato starch and the cassava or tapioca starch are gluten-free, so they can be ingested by celiac. In any case, it is always recommended that those who suffer from celiac disease consult a doctor or nutritionist before incorporating any food into their diet.