In the battle of good and evil, french fries are at the forefront. Most people don’t know this, but it’s true. At least, it’s true if you love potatoes as much as I do.
The more research I do about food, and the more I read ingredient labels, the more irritated I become by the amount of chemicals and added sugar and oil I’m eating without even knowing it. And while I’m not advocating giving up all processed foods (hello, chocolate!), cutting down on them substantially just seems like good sense. I was in the process of grabbing a bag of frozen french fries at the store (yes, I get lazy sometimes), when I read the label, which went like this: potatoes, vegetables oil (palm oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil and/or canola oil), salt, dextrose, disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate, annatto, vegetables (for coloring).
Just for contrast, here’s the french fry ingredients from a major fast food place: potatoes, vegetable oil (partially hydrogenated soybean oil, natural beef flavor (wheat and milk derivatives)**, citric acid (preservative), dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate (maintain color), dimethylpolysiloxane (antifoaming agent)), salt. Prepared in vegetable oil ((may contain one of the following: Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, partially hydrogenated corn oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness), dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent). **CONTAINS: WHEAT AND MILK (Natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients.)
Maybe these added ingredients are benign, simply helpers in the world of making them look good and not stick together. But that doesn’t mean I want to eat them if I can avoid it. Aside from the chemicals in there, both of these french fries have dextrose in them. Why? Potatoes taste great without added sugar.
So I put down the bag, went home and made my own french fries. I did have to sacrifice an extra 5 minutes or so, but it was worth it. The ingredients in mine are potatoes, olive oil, garlic and seasonings. That’s it. And that is good.
Homemade Red Potato Fries
Red Potatoes (or you can use any kind)
Salt & pepper
Fresh or dried herbs (optional)
Cut potatoes into sticks, toss with a little olive oil (a tablespoon or two) and whatever seasonings you like. Spread out flat on a baking sheet and bake at 400˚ for about 30 minutes. Bake a little less if you like them soft and squishy (I do), or a little longer if you want them crispy and brown.