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Back to School Basics with Fresh Cut Fries

Q:

With “Back to School” themes everywhere, do you have any suggestions on what more I could learn about fresh cut French fries?

A:

Yes, to begin with make sure you always use genuine Idaho® potatoes. The high water-content of non-Idaho potatoes can result in a mushy, steamed texture, as well as lower yield. Idaho® potatoes, (with an average 21% potato solids) are assured to give you superior texture, great flavor and a crisp, golden appearance.

Since your original theme was back to school… now is the time to re-learn the basics. For frozen fries click on this link:  http://foodservice.idahopotato.com/how_to/id-6. For making fresh fries start at this link for prep tips: http://foodservice.idahopotato.com/how_to/id-1.

The next thing to consider right now with fresh fries is the transition from old crop to new. If your distributor has not stocked up on russet burbank variety potatoes to carry you through mid-September or early October you may get another variety of russets from Idaho or other early harvest states. The potatoes cook differently in this transition. Think about it, at the end of the season the russet burbanks have lost some of their moisture and have been stored for 10-12 months under refrigeration. They may cook up extra fast, browning beautifully and being extra crispy. New crop potatoes may have excess starch and more importantly extra sugar. Be sure to cut and rinse the potatoes until the water is clear. Blanch a little longer at a lower temp, say 300 degrees F, if you blanch at 325. Blanch at 275 degrees F if you blanch at 300 normally. Make some adjustments and monitor the results.

The Dr. Potato blog has several short articles from the archives which you can search for using key words such as “fries”, just go to: /dr-potato

Fresh Cut Fries

And one other “back to school, back to basics” idea: Replace the French fry cutter blade. These wear out and when cutting “feather” the fries and they end up breaking into small pieces instead of the more desirable long fries your customers are used to.   Do it now!