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According to legend, Fries were invented in Namur, in francophone Belgium. The locals there loved fried fish, but during the winter of 1680, the River Meuse froze, forcing the people to eat fried potatoes instead of fish. French fries are among the most popular fast foods in most restaurant chains, but the struggle to keep them crispy has been an everlasting battle. But fear no more, since this article has the solution.
Always transfer the fries from the takeout container to a separate, airtight container before stashing them in the fridge. Allow it to reach room temperature before attempting to reheat the dish. If preparing at home, always wash the fries thoroughly to remove the starch before you fry them.
Here are a few tricks that I like to use when cooking/reheating fries that help keep them crispy for the longest time possible. So without further ado, let’s begin.
How to keep store-bought French fries crispy for a long time?
The easiest way to keep leftover store-bought French fries crispy is to place them in airtight plastic containers before transferring them to a fridge. Even if you’re eating them right away, get them out of the doggie bag, as the steam from the hot fries will make them soggy if kept for too long.
Whether or not French fries remain crispy depends on how they are cooked, what kind of oil is used, and finally, the packaging. When it comes to takeout, there is little you can do to control any of these factors. It is generally a good idea to eat them as soon as possible.
Sometimes, people at a restaurant take leftover French fries home to eat them at a leisurely hour. However, carelessly microwaving the fries makes them soggy. Even baking hardens them to the point that they cannot be eaten.
It took a long time to figure out the correct way to reheat French fries so that they retain their crispness for the longest time possible, and I’ll be sharing that trick in the following steps.
1. Keep the fries in an Airtight container. I usually have a bunch of them at home so that I can use them whenever needed.
Note that store-bought fries are only good for 1-2 days. After that, it’s impossible to restore their crispiness.
2. Before reheating, bring them down to room temperature (leave them in the open for about an hour).
3. Pour one teaspoon of olive oil into a non-stick skillet and heat it until it shimmers. Spread the oil evenly to cover the entire surface.
4. Pour a generous amount of fries and do not stack them. Cook in batches if needed and do not crowd the skillet.
5. Once the fries are a bit warm, toss them until they become crispy. Add toppings such as truffle oil, cracked black pepper, Parmesan cheese, or oregano for extra flavor.
6. Transfer the fries to a paper towel to soak in all the extra oil.
In case you’re in a hurry and want to reheat the fries quickly, you can use a microwave instead of a skillet. It’s not as effective, but it will do the job. Here are the steps:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Spread aluminum foil over a tray and place the fries over it. The aluminum foil exposes more of the fries’ surface area to the oven and makes them extra crispy.
Some people prefer a wire rack, which is not optimal. You’d have to clean it afterward, and fries often slip past the rack, making it increasingly difficult to cook them properly.
3. Heat the fries in the microwave for about 5-10 minutes.
4. Taste one to see if it needs any additional seasoning.
That’s all for store-bought French fries. If you’re making them at home, you’ll need to be extra careful about how everything is prepared, which I’ll be discussing in the next section.
How to keep homemade French fries crispy?
The key to keeping homemade French fries crispy depends on potato quality, and how they are cut, cleaned, and finally cooked. Here are a few tips you can use to keep your fries crunchy for a long time.
1. Get fresh potatoes – All potato varieties are good for crispy French fries. However, I personally use new potatoes with high water content, as it keeps the fries crispy for a long time.
2. Hand-cut your potatoes – I tried using a mandoline slicer, but the shape of the fries turned out too thin. Cutting them by hand takes time, but the end result is worth the effort.
3. Soak potatoes in an ice bath – Once I’ve finished cutting the potatoes, I soak them in ice-cold water overnight. The water removes all the excess starch within the fries and gives them a crispy texture when I fry them eventually. The bath also prevents the fries from turning gray while cooking.
4. Dry well before cooking – After a generous soaking, I drain the water and place the fries on baking sheets lined with paper towels. Then I leave them for 10-15 minutes.
5. Pre-fry your fries – I fill a pot with some oil and heat it until it reaches 300°F. Then I cook them for about 3-5 minutes until they are soft and cooked on the inside. Then I take them out before they turn brown and dry them on a new set of paper towels.
6. Freeze for later use – After the fries are dried up, I transfer them to a new paper towel and wait until the oil has been soaked out and the fries are completely cooled. Now I freeze the fries on a baking sheet first, place them in a ziplock bag, and throw them in the freezer. The fries should remain crispy for 2-3 months.
7. Cooking frozen fries – When I am finally ready to cook, I heat some oil until it reaches 375-400°F and drop the fries. I usually wait until they turn golden brown before taking them out. Then I sprinkle some salt, and the fries are ready to be served.
During my experiments, I discovered the key to crispy fries lies in the cooling period between the pre-cook and the final cook. The first fry cooks the potatoes from the inside and creates a crispy layer on the outside. The final cook gives it the signature golden-brown outer layer.
Frying them in one go pushes the moisture to the surface of the fries, making them soggy. So, if you want crispy fries, always cool them for at least 3-4 hours before the final cook.
What’s the nutritional value of French Fries?
The high starch content in French fries poses metabolic and cardiovascular health risks. However, they are also rich in water, fiber, and other nutrients. Eating them once a week is usually enough. Any more, and you might be risking your health. Here is the nutrition chart for the fries.
Is it ok to buy frozen fries?
Many brands use palm or trans fat oil to pre-cook their fries, which is not good for your heart’s health. Although there is no immediate health risk, consuming it on a periodic basis can cause problems.
The best way to keep French fries crispy for a long time is therefore to pre-cook and freeze them in the freezer. However, the same trick doesn’t apply to takeouts, as they are already fully cooked and only remain crispy for about a day or two. Hopefully, you’ve found the information related to fries useful. Stay tuned for more food-related articles in the future.