Posts Tagged ‘french fries’

Blanching Fresh Cut Fries

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Q. Can I do the first blanch for fresh cut russet fries in the oven?

Why Are My Fries Sometimes Dark?

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Q. I have been to several of the same gourmet hamburger and fry chain locations and sometimes the French fries are really dark and unappetizing. How can that happen?

What Happens If You Pre-Cook Fresh Cut Potatoes At 350 Degrees?

Friday, November 29th, 2013

Q. What happens if you pre-cook (blanch) fresh cut 3/8Inch potatoes 350 degrees, in lieu of the recommended 250 degrees?

Can You Deep Fry Fresh Cut Fries Directly After Cutting Them?

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Q. I have a question involving making fresh French fries at county fairs and special events.  Can you get by with fresh cutting the fries and deep frying? Or do you have to cut, rinse in cold water, then fry at two different temperatures to get them to taste good, with a crisp on the outside, and a fluffy texture inside?

How Do You Store French Fries After They Have Been Cooked?

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Q. After cooking potatoes into French fries is it necessary to store the left over fried potatoes in the refrigerator?

What Is The Difference Between No.1 And No. 2 Idaho® Potatoes?

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Q. What is the difference between No. 1 and No. 2 Potatoes?

What Size Idaho® Potatoes Should I Buy?

Friday, September 6th, 2013

Q. What size Idaho® potatoes should I buy?

A. Small Idaho® Potatoes are best for use in salads, while medium-sized Idaho® Potatoes are quite versatile and can be used baked, mashed or fried. Large ones are ideal for French fries or the “meal-in-itself” baked potato.

How Do I Leach Out Starch For Making Fries And How Can I Make Them Crispy?

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Q. Is ice water more effective than room temperature water for leaching out starch for making fries? Also, do you know what method creates a light and crispy exterior verses one which is hard and leathery?  Is it the potato or the process?

A. Chilling the water or adding ice is a method that helps the cells seal up and makes for a crisper fry when blanched. Warm or room temp water is better for leaching the starches, some operators or manufacturers actually blanch (or boil) the potatoes in water to remove excess starches. Many making fresh cut fries, first cut the potatoes, rinse in water till the water is clear, then transfer to plastic buckets with water, place in the walk in and come back in a few hours. Typically the excess surface starch will drop to the bottom of the bucket. By the way, this excess starch, when captured, makes an excellent thickener for soups and is gluten free too!

Light and crispy defines the results you get from using a high solid, low moisture potato. Typically, the Russet Burbank variety from Idaho works very well for this. Medium to medium high solids, such as the Yukon Gold or Russet Norkotah can work, but I have found that you need to blanch them at a lower temperature for longer. Search “high solids” and “fresh fries” on the Dr. Potato web site, top right corner. You can also scroll down to the cloud words (most often mentioned) and click on solids or fries or starch there. It could also be the oil type or oil temperature, when a lot of potatoes are added at once it drives down the temperature.

Perfect Fresh-cut French Fries

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Q. I love the choice we made several years ago to serve fresh-cut Idaho fries, but I’d like to know how we can make them more consistent?  It seems like we are getting some batches that fry up perfectly and the next batch is dark.

A.  Hand-cut fries are a great selling feature and very popular with customers. Here are several tips for making the best possible hand-cut fries:

It’s always hard to diagnose what is happening a long distance away when fresh cut fries are being used as an everyday signature item. It’s very difficult to maintain consistency year-round as potatoes can come from a number of different fields, which vary in soil type, are planted and harvested at different times, and are subject to different weather conditions. Nearly twenty years ago, only one variety was being used nearly exclusively: the Russet Burbank. My predecessor spent a week at multiple Houston restaurants before making our fresh frying recommendations for all chains based on what she saw happening. What she found was that the Russet Burbank, when stored properly, had less of a tendency to accumulate sugars. The Burbank is hard to grow because changes in climate or water will result in multiple knobs or funny-shaped potatoes. When I started on the Commission 23 years ago, this variety accounted for 94% of all the potatoes Idaho grew. Many other states also grew more Russet Burbanks than any other variety. Now this variety is almost non-existent in Colorado or substantially reduced (Wisconsin, Washington, Oregon) but still about 50% of the fresh potato production in Idaho. It still is the preferred variety by a number of chains specializing in fresh-cut fries.

Some have success with our Norkotah Russet variety, which is much improved over the first generations in having a higher average solids and storing better for extended usage.

The yellow flesh varieties will fry up very good also, but I don’t have much hands-on experience with their variations so I can’t help much with the analysis.

There are some specific things that can help… many of these tips are mentioned at the Dr. Potato blog in the foodservice section of and various searchable blogs such as We have a lot of postings since 2009 on fries. Also,  in the pdf Foodservice toolkit: are step by step basics.

Here is what I would start on…

At the distributor location… Make sure they put the potatoes at the front of the refrigeration  area, near the plastic sheets that are used to drive thru the entrance, this is usually the warmest part of the warehouse. Keep them as low as possible as there is less circulation of air at the top of the shelving and more towards ground level. If you have the capability to pre-stage a weeks worth of spuds that is perfect. Docks may not be ideal  (so many are refrigerated and cold now). Warmer temps can help re-condition the potatoes. Above 40° F the starch is turning to sugar on russets.

At the restaurant… Bring in enough to rotate first-in first-out. This is what Outback Steakhouse did for years with great sucess. It is what Five Guys does. Store at room temps, but not too hot so not next to the fryers or ovens as they will sprout and the skin will wrinkle as the potatoes lose moisture. Check the solids, check the sugars (see Dr. Potato blogs on both).

Cut and wash the potatoes until the water runs clear. This helps rid them of any excess starch or sugar.  Lower the temps for blanching by at least 10-15 degrees and just blanch longer.

Frying Best Practices

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Q. It seems as if wavy ribbon fries soak up a lot of oil. Is there a better way to prep and fry for a better a taste?

A. Always fry fries from a frozen state for extra crispiness. Fry at 350 degrees F. Fill the frying basket half full and give it a shake in the middle of frying to reach any cold spots in the center of the fries. Also, this website should answer all of your frying technique questions: