Crisp, hot, salty, healthy french fries….yep, I just used all those words in one sentence! When you think of “fries,” you don’t normally think of something you can eat without feeling at least a little bit of guilt. Fast food has really given french fries a bad rap, and that’s probably deserved. After all, if you asked a toddler what kind of vegetable (well, technically tuber) fast food french fries come from, he’d probably not be able to answer! That’s because a fast food fry is a totally different animal from fresh, homemade oven-baked fries. Did I say animal? Did I mention that there’s beef flavor in McDonalds french fries? Now, to be fair, beef flavor may or may not mean actual beef. But either way, it’s not something normally found in a potato. While we’re at it, neither are soybean oil, canola oil, wheat, milk, sugar, or something called Dimethylpolysiloxane (helpfully explained on the McDonalds website as an anti-foaming agent. Because, you know, nobody likes their french fries to foam). When I set out to write this recipe, I wasn’t planning to go on a tirade about fast food fries. But when I looked up the ingredients…well…I just couldn’t help myself. I admit to being a bit shocked by what I found!
Wait! Don’t let me ruin your appetite for french fries! You can have your fries and eat them, too…I promise. While potatoes do have a high GI factor, they are also high in a lot of great vitamins and minerals! And they come in a rainbow of colors, and an array of shapes and sizes. Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin B6, potassium, copper, fiber and vitamin C. Like most fruits and vegetables, the more colorful the potato the better it is for you…in fact, studies show that sweet potatoes and purple potatoes are the most nutrient-dense potatoes you can eat. Sweet potato fries are amazing, but if you’re looking for a traditional french fry Yukon Gold potatoes taste amazing and pack more carotenoids than a traditional russet.
So, are you ready to make some fresh, hot fries? You only need a few ingredients! Organic Yukon Gold potatoes (don’t peel them! The skins are good for you), a little melted coconut oil, and some sea salt and black pepper. You’ll also need some wire cooling racks, and a big bowl of ice water. You just cut the potatoes up into thin sticks, and then dunk them in the ice water. Let them sit there for a while…the ice water will pull some starch out of the potato, which makes the fries crispier and reduces the amount of starch in the fries.
Then, drain them and pat them dry before tossing them with the melted coconut oil, salt and pepper. Place the wire racks on top of a cookie sheet, and layer the fries on top (make sure they don’t touch, so they’ll crisp up evenly). Bake them for about 1/2 hour, and you’re ready to enjoy hot, salty fries! You can serve them as a side dish…or just share them as a snack.
Oven baked fries taste so much better than traditional fries, and it’s such a great thing to know that nothing but fresh, healthy ingredients went into them. Such a great treat!
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What’s your favorite dip for french fries? I’m a kid at heart, I admit I love ketchup!