Corn Starch, or Avena Sativa Starch, is made from the starchy endosperm of corn kernels. The starch inside the endosperm is removed, rinsed, dried, and milled into a fine powder.
It is a commonly used in food as a thickener and/or to add texture. Typically a corn starch slurry is made out of 2 parts cold water (or another liquid) and 1 part cornstarch before adding into a bigger component. This way the corn starch completely dissolves in the water, leaving no lumps behind. It is especially useful to thicken liquid-based foods like soups, stews, sauces, or custards. It can also replace egg in many vegan recipes! Typically use 2 tablespoons of corn starch plus 3 tablespoons of liquid for every egg you need to replace.
Corn Starch also reduces friction which can be very useful in many aspects. If you have a particularly tough knot to get untied, you can sprinkle corn starch on it, rub it in, and it will help the tight knot to release. Corn starch can also help with chafing by reducing friction. It can also be used to keep feet/skin dry to reduce the chance of creating a blister. Sunburn can make the skin very sensitive to friction. Some will sprinkle corn starch in their sheets to help reduce the friction on tender sun-burnt skin.
Because of Corn Starch’s moisture-wicking properties, it can be used for things like removing grease stains from fabrics or deodorizing shoes.
Corn Starch can also be used in many industrial applications like paper, adhesives, and coatings.
Finally, one of the most fun ways to use corn starch is to make your own at-home slime or Oobleck! This is a hit among kids and it’s super easy to make. Just combine 1 cup of water (tinted with a few drops of food coloring if you’d like) with 2 cups of corn starch. Under pressure, Oobleck acts like a solid, but when pressure is released, it acts like a liquid. (Please note that you should not dispose of Oobleck down the drain as it will clog pipes).