French fries are potatoes that are julienned and deep fried.

French Fries


What are French Fries?

French fries are potatoes that are julienned and deep fried. Known as French fries in the US, they are also known as ‘chips’ in the UK, ‘finger chips’ in India, and ‘potato fries’ in Europe.

  • It can be served along with a number of different types of sauces, including ketchup, mayonnaise, chilli sauce, cheese sauce, chipotle sauce, and sour cream dip.
  • Fries are often served as a side to different dishes such as fried fish (fish and chips), burgers, sandwiches, fried chicken, hot dogs, etc.

There are different types of fries, such as:

  1. Standard cut                                                           10. Steak fries
  2. Garlic fries                                                              11. Chips
  3. Curly fries                                                               12. Potato wedges
  4. Waffle fries                                                             13. Cottage fries
  5. Belgian fries                                                           14. Chili cheese fries
  6. Tater tots                                                                15. Pommes soufflés
  7. Cheese fries                                                            16. Smiley
  8. Shoestring fries                                                      17. Potato Tornado
  9. Crinkle cut fries

Origin

Legend has it that French fries originated from Belgium in a small fishing village. In winter, when River Meuse froze over and the villagers could no longer catch fish to fry, they fried potatoes instead. This is the most commonly believed legend and is the most probable one. However, it is possible that it may have originated separately in France or Spain. In World War I, American soldiers posted in Europe tasted the dish and called it ‘french fries’ in reference to the language of the local people. Today, the dish is prevalent around the world and is served with slight tweaks according to local tastes. Belgium is also now petitioning to make fries a Belgian icon. 

Why eat French fries?

  • Fries are a tasty and easy to make dish. They can be ordered in, cooked at home, or eaten outside. 
  • As a finger food, it is a convenient dish that can be eaten while working, watching TV, or multitasking.
  • There are different varieties of fries and it can be served with different sauces or dishes. This provides variety that makes it more versatile.

Unhealthy potatoes

However, despite its tastiness and convenience, this can be unhealthy. Though potato itself is healthy with a lot of healthy carbs, vitamin E, and other nutrients, fries must not be eaten more than once a week at the most. In fact, eating it more than twice a week can double the risk of death.

This is dense in sodium and transfats, which could lead to high blood pressure, heart diseases, obesity, diabetes, and other problems. 

In order to improve the healthfulness, they can be fried in fresh unrecycled oils. They can be freshly made, which would reduce the sodium content that frozen fries have. You can also try roasting fries after brushing them with oil, which would make it quite healthy, though not quite fries.

Commercial production

There are many different brands of fries available in the market. These are prepared by first cleaning the potatoes and peeling them. They are then cut into long strips by a machine and blanched in hot water for a few minutes. The potato strips are then dried to get rid of excess moisture. Once partially dried, the strips are par-fried, that is, cooked in oil for two minutes. Finally, the fries are frozen, packed, and remains in frozen storage  for distribution.

5 ways to make amazing fries:

FDA regulations

French fries are any potatoes that are cooked by frying in deep fat. It is the par-frying stage that makes fries unhealthy. Frying potatoes and storing them leads to a very high acrylamide levels, which is a carcinogen. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently come out with guidelines on reducing the acrylamide level in fries and other pre-fried foods. Until research comes up with a way to reduce the level of acrylamide in pre-fried potato-based foods, the FDA advises to limit intake. 

References

Rupp, Rebecca; Are French Fries Truly French?, National Geographic
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/food/the-plate/2015/01/08/are-french-fries-truly-french/ 

Shmerling, Robert H., MD, In defense of French Fries, Harvard Medical School
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/in-defense-of-french-fries-2019020615893

French Fries Machine, How to Produce Frozen French Fries
https://frenchfriesmachine.com/blog/how-to-produce-frozen-french-fries.html

Gökmen, Vural, Department of Food Engineering, Hacettepe University, Acrylamide in Food Analysis, Content and Potential Health Effects 2016, Pages 159-179
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128028322000085

FDA Issues Final Guidance for Industry on How to Reduce Acrylamide in Certain Foods,  2016
https://www.fda.gov/food/cfsan-constituent-updates/fda-issues-final-guidance-industry-how-reduce-acrylamide-certain-foods

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