Although French fries are not hard to make from scratch, one of the main problems you can run into is the freshly-sliced potatoes turn brown before you get a chance to fry or bake them. The rapid browning, known as oxidation, occurs when enzymes in the potatoes are exposed to the air. You either have to work very quickly or find a way to keep the potato slices from browning before you are ready to cook them. A bath of acidic water is an effective way to keep them looking fresh and appetizing.
Things You'll Need
- Starchy potatoes
- Vegetable brush
- Vegetable peeler
- Cutting board
Scrub and peel potatoes. Scrub the potatoes under running water with a vegetable brush to remove any dirt and debris, and use a vegetable peeler to peel them. You can opt to keep the skin on if you prefer. Starchy potatoes, such as russet or Idaho potatoes, are best for French fries.
Slice the potatoes into your desired French fry size on a clean cutting board. Slice off the two ends, then the round sides to create a square box shape, which you can then cut into fries. Typically, fries are sliced anywhere from 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
Immerse the French fries in a bowl of cold water. Add a generous squeeze of lemon juice. This acidifies the water, which helps slow down the oxidation that causes the browning. Cover and store the bowl in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook the fries.
Drain the water from the potatoes when you are ready to cook them. Pat dry with paper towels to remove as much excess water as possible.
Tips & Warnings
- Immersing the cut uncooked French fries in water also helps remove some of its starchiness, resulting in crispier fries.
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