Chips come in different cuts, you can get thin cut, original cut, thick cut, and pretty much every cut in between. My research indicates a direct relationship between these cuts and the cut of your jeans – skinny cut, regular cut or relaxed!
You see, much as we love them, potato chips are high in salt and fat. Half a 150 gram bag is nearly 40% of a recommended daily fat intake. Even the latest ploy of the “artisan chip” doesn’t fool me for a minute. Just because it was “harvested from the rich soil of Mr Jones farm” and “lovingly made by Lou”, doesn’t mean it is any better for me. Read the fine print. Some of those “artisan” chips have more fat than a packet of pork crackle (true).
A 150 gram bag of regular old potato chips has how many recommended servings in it? 5.56 according to whoever came up with the nutrition information on the back panel. So next time you open a bag of chips, get five and half of your friends around and have 27 grams of chips each, or 15 if you’d prefer to count them out for everyone.
Truth is, an open bag of chips has a very short life expectancy and anyone who tells you they couldn’t eat more than 15 potato chips is not to be trusted. So what to do? Make your own of course.
Potatoes are good for you. They contain a lot of fibre, potassium and energy giving carbohydrates and they are seriously delicious. My recipe below, has a fraction of the salt and way less fat and is in no way puritanical. And lets not stop at potatoes. You can make yummy vege chips out of carrots, kumara, parsnips and beetroot. I’ve got some great cracker recipes, but lately I’m enjoying serving these vegetable chips as a cracker alternative with cheese.
You need a couple of bits of equipment to make great chips at home. A mandoline (vege slicer not musical instrument) is the best tool for the job. You can cut them by hand with a sharp knife, like the beetroot chips in the photo above, but it takes an age, a steady hand and you get more waste. A mandoline with a crinkle cut blade also gives you those nice little ridges to hold the salt and fat. Mandolines start at around $30, but if you’re going to use it a lot, get one with a hand guard and a few different blades.
The second piece of equipment you’ll need is a dehydrator, which you can get from us or pick up a second hand one on TradeMe. You can make vege chips in the oven but it is harder to stop them burning on the edges before they dry properly.
Use firm fresh potatoes or vegetables for chips and wash them well. I peel kumara, beetroot and parsnips but just scrub carrots and potatoes and leave the skin on for extra flavour and less work.
The other thing you learn is it takes a lot of vegetables to make a little amount of chips. I needed 1.5kg of spuds to make that 150 gram packet of potato chips! I mean I had no idea I was eating a kilo and a half of potatoes when I was, I mean when we were, that is to say me and my 5.56 friends, eating um half, that packet of chips! And the same goes for vegetable chips. One kilo of parsnips or carrots yields only 60-90 grams of crispy chips!
Homemade Potato Chips
1.5 kg potatoes
3/4 tablespoon of rice bran oil
1 teaspoon of salt
- Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil.
- Wash and cut the potatoes into 3 mm slices.
- Blanch the sliced spuds in the boiling water for 6 minutes. Do it in a few batches so the water stays at a boil and the spuds get plenty of water around them to remove starch.
- Rinse under cold water in a colander to stop them cooking.
- Drain them well and put them in a large shallow bowl.
- When you’ve blanched all the slices pour the oil over them and toss gently with your hands so each slice is coated.
- Lay the slices on dehydrator trays (takes 10 trays) so they are not overlapping
- Sprinkle each tray with the salt
- Dehydrate on medium heat for 10 hours, checking at the 6 hour point
- Allow to cool completely before testing dryness because they firm up more on cooling. They are done when they snap cleanly, not bend.
- Pack in glass jars with a lid.
A good dehydrator will only cost 3 cents an hour to run in electricity. Vegetables with higher sugar content like carrots, parsnips and beetroot need only 6-8 hours to dry and if you cut them thinner they will take less time.
Blanching is good for softening skins, cooking things you wouldn’t eat raw like parsnips and potatoes and killing any bugs. I blanch carrots whole to soften the skin and then slice them. I don’t blanch beetroot at all and I blanch parsnips but only for 2 minutes.
Don’t overdo the oil and any seasonings. You need very little because the mass of vegetables shrinks so much but the oil doesn’t. I don’t oil carrots at all. Olive oil is lovely with parsnips.
By may calculations with these ready salted regular homemade potato chips have less than half the fat and only 15% of the salt of their supermarket leading brand equivalents. Which is just as well if you’re going to eat more than a 27 gram servings in one sitting.
And let me tell you, by the time you’ve put that much effort in to make your 150 gram bag of chips, you may just appreciate them a little more and be tempted to eat your quota of 15 and call it a day… Nah… not happening.
I have some plans for salt and vinegar chips next! Have you tried making your own chips? We would love to hear about them.