Who doesn’t love “french fries”? But, have you noticed how expensive the good ones have become? Well, why not make your own? It’s easy!
- Working Oven
- Cookie Sheet(s)
- Sharp knife or French fry maker
- Cold Water
- Parchment paper (optional)
- Freezer bags
You’ll need potatoes; good, fresh, firm potatoes. Grow your own and you’ll always have them, but in the meantime, you can buy them – just make sure they’re firm. Variety is up to you: Idaho are always a favorite, but red potatoes are great, as are Yukon Gold, and a whole array. Hey, why not mix them? I haven’t tried this yet, but, that could be the next kitchen experiment!
Wash your potatoes well. Unless the skins are green, don’t peel them – the peelings are food, and very nutritious food, at that. But green skins indicate exposure to light during growing, producing “solanine”, which is toxic. Peel the potatoes if the skins are green; otherwise, eat the yummy skins! Do not throw green potato skins in your compost – dispose of them.
Cut the fries to suit you; some people like thick wedges, some prefer thin, so, cut them into the shape you like. A good, sharp knife will do (I like my cleaver!); but, I have vintage hand-operated devices that will push a potato through (using hand power to push, of course) and give uniform french fries; you can buy new french fry cutters, as well. They’ll work well and not poison you in the process with toxic paint, or break from defective metals, etc. Of course, there are always electric-powered food processors, and they will give very uniform results, but I prefer off-the-grid methods as often as possible.
Soak the cut potatoes (french fries) in cold, salted water (about 1 gallon cold water with 1/4 cup salt per 5 lb. potatoes should do it) for 20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. This removes a lot of the unwanted starch and produces a better product. Allow fries to drain on a cookie cooling rack or clean cotton towel.
While draining, preheat oven to 425 deg. F. Arrange fries on cookie sheets, single layers only. Parchment paper comes in very handy here. Spray (I bought a small, cheap hand-held spray bottle in the travel section at Walmart, and it works great), or drizzle with your favorite oil – mine is olive oil (first cold press, extra virgin) for this project.
Season with your favorite seasonings: we like sea salt or kosher salt, cracked peppers, lemon pepper, Cajun seasonings, etc. Bake @ 425 deg. F until “done” – how long will depend on the way you cut your fries, the size and calibration of your oven, etc. Just watch them, and keep a note on how long it took to get them where you want them.
When done, remove from oven, and allow fries to stand to cool a bit (try not to eat too many along the way here). When cooled just enough to be safe to pop in your freezer – still on cookie sheets, do this! Freeze completely (how long this will take depends on how you cut them, but a few hours should do it for any cut).
When frozen stiff, bag your fries up according to the portion size you want per bag, date the bags. You could also use your FoodSaver here (I use mine!) and they will, of course, stay fresher longer than in a regular freezer bag (won’t ice up in the freezer!).
To reheat: Oven @ 425 deg. F; bake until thoroughly heated through to suit your personal tastes.
Chemical free french fries when you want them!