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Monday, 13 August 2012

ARROW ROOT – A plant that gives easily digestible starch

Arrow Root is a tuber crop that can be grown very easily in our homestead garden. This is mainly cultivated for making Arrow root powder, that is, starch. Its tubers contain 23% starch. This starch is easily digestible. Hence it can be used as baby food. It is also used for medicinal purpose.
Arrow root grown in coconut garden
The scientific name of Arrow root is Maranta arundinacea. This is a perennial plant grow about 2-3 feet high and its tubers are about 30cm long and 1-2.5cm thick.
Arrowroot is propagated vegetatively by rhizomes. Healthy rhizomes with at least one germinated sprout can be used for planting. Arrowroot prefers partially shaded condition and rich soil. Hence it can be grown as an inter crop. It is planted in May-June at a spacing of 45x30cm on raise beds. Apply organic manure according to soil fertility. Mulching using dry leaves or other vegetative portion of plants may be done immediately after planting.
No major pests or diseases are noticed in the crop.
The crop matures for harvest 7 months after planting. When the leaves start drying crop can be harvested. Dig out tubers with care.
Starch extraction: Tubers are first washed, and then cleaned of the paper-like scale. The scales must be carefully removed before the extraction of the starch because they impart their disagreeable flavor if allowed to remain. After the removal of the scale, the roots are washed again, drained and finally reduced to a pulp by beating them in mortars or subjecting them to the action of the wheel rasp. The milky liquid thus obtained is passed through a coarse cloth and the pure starch, which is insoluble, is allowed to settle at the bottom. The wet starch is dried in the sun or in a drying house. Thus we get arrowroot starch.


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