Starch is found naturally in many grains and vegetables. But before it can be used in recipes, starch needs to be separated from other elements of the plant (e.g. fibre, proteins, and fats) in a process similar to flour milling.
Water is usually used to separate the different parts of the grain. For instance, maize grains are soaked in water while for wheat, water is added to the flour obtained after milling and sifting. The starch milk is then separated from the other grain components and is dried before it can be used.
The starch extracted using this process resembles a whitish powder. It is what we call “native starch”. This ingredient can be bought at a grocery store to be used to thicken soups, sauces or cakes. Other ingredients such as modified starch and sugary syrups can also be made from native starch.