You probably feel passionately about your favorite fry type, be it curly, waffle, crinkle-cut, or wedged. Maybe you find a bite of perfection when you dip a fry in your chocolate shake, a tub of ketchup, or even a bit of mayonnaise. Though there are a lot of preferences in the wide world of French fry options, one thing can't be debated: the importance of the perfect preparation method.
What is Blanching?
Yes, a perfectly timed oil bath is essential, but it's the step just prior that makes or breaks your fries. Blanching is the process of dunking your sliced, pre-cooked potatoes in a scalding vat of water or oil. They are left in the liquid for a very short time interval, then hastily removed and immediately placed into a container of cold water in order to stop the cooking process.
Why is Blanching Essential?
Blanching has a number of fantastic benefits. The first and arguably most important to the consumer is that it kills potential food pathogens, verified by American Frozen Foods Institute through recent work. Another major upside to blanching is that it deactivates the enzymes that turn your food an unappetizing brown color. When potatoes are sliced and then left out to sit for extended periods of time, enzymes in the potato react with oxygen particles causing this unfortunate discoloration. The drastic heat of a quick blanch eliminates the risk of browning. This means your potatoes do not have to be fried immediately after they are cut; in fact, blanched potatoes can be stored for twelve to twenty-four hours before being fried. This saves you stress and lets you cook on your own schedule.
Blanching also works to reduce the moisture content of the French fry, helping them crisp up much more easily when fried. When the potatoes are transferred to the cold water after the hot liquid dip, the cells of the potato shrink, ensuring the fry will not absorb as much oil when it is later fried. Additionally, the starch it removes from the potato can positively impact the quality of your oil.
All that is to say: blanching will add taste and texture benefits to your French fries. A blanch in a hot oil bath will lend extra crispness and golden color to your final product.
Are you still unconvinced? Talk to a local culinary expert today and test out your frying process in their kitchen!