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Should we Blanch our Idaho® Potatoes?

Q:

We do not blanch out potatoes; we cut them directly into a Cambro container, cover with water, and fry within 36 hours. The potatoes turn out differently from one lot to another.  Can you help?

A:

Probably not… The biggest error that I see units make when they fry fresh potatoes is not blanching them. In addition to not blanching, here are a few other tips to keep the potatoes from failing or turning out crispy:

  • Filling the baskets too full (the potatoes in the center never get fully cooked).
  • Not giving the cooking fries a shake part way through the cycle to better distribute the potatoes to get rid of any cold spots.
  • Frying at too high a temp (375ºF is TOO HIGH!). Don’t exceed 350ºF.

You mentioned Cambro, here is their web site. I especially like using the Cambro Crisper to place cut potatoes into with water. They have a drain at the bottom to get rid of any excess starch that comes off of the potatoes.

Why blanch?

There are scientific reasons. To say it simply... a double fry removes a considerable amount of moisture from the potato and seals off the surfaces of the exterior of the potato on the first “blanch” which can be done in water or oil. The potatoes need to be dry or drained of excess moisture before the second fry. They can be stored overnight.

The second frying, or “finish fry”, removes additional moisture but crisps up the exterior so you can end up with a texture of a baked potato center inside and crisp golden exterior. The second you drop potatoes into hot oil it can drive down the oil temps by 50° or more. As respected cookbook author, Shirley O. Corriher, says in her book CookWise “adding cold food is like adding lumps of ice”. Without blanching the potatoes it will take much longer to rid the moisture and take longer to crisp up.