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Primitive Technology: Polynesian Arrowroot Flour


Polynesian arrowroot plant. It has a distinctive appearance, sort of like the potato plant. Also note the distinctive flowers Back at the hut making a basket Fire hardening a digging stick in the furnace Scrapping off the charred wood to form a sharp point This plant is abundant in the hills near the hut, brought here by Polynesian seafarers 5000 years ago. Hammering in the stick is sometimes easier than digging Carefully levering up the tuber The tuber Plant and tuber Leaving the plant intact while harvesting tuber filling in hole Leave the plant to make another tuber next year Each tuber took about 3 minutes to dig up without damaging them Full basket Tuber tastes bitter and needs processing Washing tubers Clean tubers Grating tubers on roof tile (any rough object will do, the tubers are soft) Using a barrel roof tile is easier Scooping gratings into pot of water The starch is separated from the pulp and suspended in water Resultant mash Scooping the starchy water into another pot while leaving the pulp behind Refilling the pot with the mash with water Scooping more starch water into the other pot After the starch settles (a few hours) the clear water is poured off while the starch remains at the bottom Mash pot refilled More starch water transferred More decanting Mash on the right of screen, pure starch on the left Starch still tastes bitter Rinsing starch with water Pouring off bitter compounds in the starch This was done several times, filling with water, settling and pouring off. Tastes good now. Putting on tile to dry Force drying over furnace Dry starch, similar to corn flour Some of it cooked in the heat, forming gelatinous masses The cooked starch is chewy and tastes like rice noodles Storing flour in a pot Making a pancake on a tile flipping cake with a bark spatula Cake is clear, gelatinous and sticky It tastes like a rice noodle and has a similar texture. It has a starchy taste and gives energy, improving mood almost immediately It could probably be dried in noodle form to be stored for future meals or the starch used to thicken soups. Processing the rest of the left over mash Polynesian arrowroot plant, tuber and starch

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