Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Radically Natural Recipe: Potato Chips

Don't eat junk?  Check.  Don't buy processed food?  Double check.  Curious to try a fun, healthy, salty starch snacks post GAPS?  Sure!  Let's make potato chips!

The primary health snafu with commercial potato chips (even those sold at "health" food stores) is the frying fat used.  We know that fake fats and "veggie" oils just aren't good for us.  But they certainly are cheap for commercial production.  If you want to fry foods and avoid deleterious health affects, make your own using real stable fats...saturated fats.  The best choices for potato chips are lard or coconut oil.

It's time-consuming to make your own snacks, but the value of Real Food is undeniable.  And it's fun to get your kids involved...they are learning and they love the eating!  Be particularly attentive, though, when frying with children, as we want to avoid splatter burns.

Tips for Making Potato Chips

Choose the correct potato and slice it thinly.  A floury variety is best for chips, as they have a lower water and sugar content, allowing them to crisp more easily.  Basically, you want a Russett variety.

Use a wok or heavy-bottomed pot for the frying, and have a candy thermometer that can go to 350º F.

Perform a water rinse and vinegar soak on your potato slices, then dry them.  This removes starch and increases crispness in your chips, as well as reducing frying time.

Potato Chips:  The Steps

1.  Slice potatoes thinly, about 1/8" (either a mandoline or food processor work nicely)
2.  Rinse the slices in cold water, filling bowl with water and swishing about the potato slices, then draining water.  Do this multiple times until the water remains clear.  This is helping to remove excess starch for the frying process.
3.  Soak the slices in a vinegar water bath (1/2 cup vinegar to 4 cups water) for up to 2 hours.  This helps to increase crispness during the frying process.
4.  Allow the slices to air dry.  This reduces water content and shortens frying time, encouraging crispness.
5.  Heat about 4 cups of a healthy saturated oil (coconut or lard) in a wok or large, heavy-bottomed pot until it reaches 300º.  Monitor temperature with a candy thermometer.  The temperature will fluctuate as you add and remove the potatoes, so adjust the heat accordingly.  You don't want the oil so hot that the chips easily burn...I find that temps between 300º and 350º work well.
6.  Using a slotted spoon or Chinese bamboo strainer or other such device, add a group of slices into the pan so that all slices will submerge into the oil.  They will pop upon entry as water leaves the potatoes.
7.  Fry until the chips are done...they will be golden brown and the sizzling/popping noise will cease, indicating the absence of water in the chips.  About 5-6 minutes a batch.
8.  Remove slices (using strainer) to a paper towel-covered plate and season to your desired taste...lots of real salt, surely, and perhaps pepper or a homemade herb or spice blend.
9.  Allow to cool and dry completely before storing in a bag or container to ensure continued crispness.
10.  Save some for the kids!