THE SCOOP: When it comes to thickening saucy liquids, arrowroot outshines other starch thickeners, such as cornstarch and wheat flour. The fine powder dissolves easily, has almost no aftertaste (unlike flour and cornstarch, which can taste chalky if undercooked), and thickens when heated to give foods an appetizingly clear, glistening sheen.
HOW IT'S USED: Whisk arrowroot powder into a cold liquid to make a slurry, then add to the recipe, just as you would cornstarch or flour. Substitute 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder for 1 tablespoon cornstarch, or 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder for 1 tablespoon flour. Try as a thickener for gravies, puddings, stews, and stir-fry and fruit pie sauce mixtures. Be careful not to overcook recipes using arrowroot; it loses its thickening power if overheated.
SHOPPING TIPS: Because arrowroot can be pricey in conventional supermarkets (where it's sold in small jars on the spice rack), look for it in larger quantities or bulk bins at natural food stores, or order from online sources.
Arrowroot Jelly Trifle (pictured)