Before Divulging The Secrets Of Making Homemade Potato Chips…
Once Upon A Time
Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time. In the days of old – at least as they relate to me – as much as I loved potato chips – I was held hostage to all the brand name manufacturers that produced their own exclusive versions of this wonderful snack. Nowadays, you can buy them cooked any which way you can think of – flavored with garlic or sour cream or BBQ or ranch or plain or something else. Thoughts of making homemade potato chips were the farthest thing from my mind.
But wouldn’t it be great to just make your own potato chips – and, have them taste better and last longer than the store bought versions?
I thought so, too!
Thus, I began my quest for the perfect homemade potato chips.
Trial And Error – Was The Catchphrase Of The Day
My first attempt was by slicing the potatoes with my Ninja food processor. The slices came out too thick and the thickness wasn’t very consistent, either. I guess my Ninja does have one limitation – but this is the only one I’ve discovered thus far.
Then, I tried to deep fry those thick spud slices in my Hamilton Beach deep fryer. They came out looking and tasting more like steak fries – and they were pretty oily – literally oozing with oil – even though I let them drain on paper towels.
I quickly came to the realization that my trusty little HB deep fryer was best utilized for making my famous chicken wings.
But, that’s another story…
Next I oven baked them – drizzled with a little olive oil. Same results. Steak fries again. This time they were kinda dry – but, I still had that oily taste and feeling in my mouth – if you know what I mean.
Tackling the thickness issue was the first hurdle. I needed to get these potatoes – “potato chip thin” – consistently – before I tried any type of cooking – to create the perfect potato chip. So, I put the food processor back on the shelf and got out my green mandoline slicer.
With the mandoline slicer, I was carving off paper thin slices and doing it the same – every time. Marty’s got a newer version of the same slicer – but, I still like my old trusty green one. It has seen quite a few “potato chip making” occasions.
Both of these slicers have Japanese stainless steel blades that stay sharp F-O-R-E-V-E-R!
Now – How To Cook These Bad Boys?
I already tried deep frying – and that didn’t work. Drowning them in all that extra oil wasn’t going to make for healthy or tasty potato chips. Don’t forget the extra calories from all that oil…
Been through the baking fiasco, too – and, all I got were very dry chips that also tasted a bit oily. Plus, this technique also added its own share of “too many calories” – even though the amount of oil was less than deep frying – it was still there.
No – I had to come up with a new method. One that created a guilt free – but immensely pleasurable “potato chip snacking experience.”
Light bulb! How about the microwave? I haven’t tried that yet!
I got it! Pam!
No, Marty, Pam is not an ex-girlfriend.
Now, I’m On A Roll
I got out my trusty vegetable peeler – the one with the great ergonomic handle and the built-in potato eye gouger – and I skinned some potatoes.
Enter my favorite green mandoline slicer – from stage left – to systematically produce the necessary consistently thin slices of spuds. Those tater slices were piled high on my favorite BPA-free polycarbonate cutting board.
Next, I took out a stack of dinner plates, lightly coated each plate entirely with Pam, and placed those thin potato slices on the plates – being careful to leave a little space between each one.
Through trial and error, I discovered that it takes a plate of thin, raw potato slices about 3 minutes – give or take a few seconds – for the microwave to produce nice golden brown potato chips. I guess it depends a lot on how powerful the microwave is – so, before you stick to my 3 minute rule, you may want to calibrate your own cooking time to produce the right consistency of chips.
HINT: Using two microwaves instead of one will get you through this process in half the time. But, that’s an easy assumption to make, huh?
Add a little salt – and / or garlic – and / or powdered sour cream – and presto change-o – I now have the best potato chips that no amount of money could buy.
Plus, I didn’t have to go through all those additional steps by marinating the potatoes – in salt water – or in some other liquid-y mixture. I just sliced them up, slapped them on a Pam coated plate, and zapped them in a microwave. Simple – and to the point!
Is There A Potato Variety That’s Best For Making Chips?
My favorites can be purchased from any supermarket – but, I choose spuds I can grow myself – from Stargazer Perennials.
My taste buds tell me that Yukon Gold potatoes rank highest in my chip making endeavors. They have best potato chip flavor and, the most appealing golden-brown color.
Red potatoes are my second choice –not far behind the Yukon Golds.
But, even the everyday – used in every way – Burbank Russet potatoes work just fine. Just as long as they haven’t started sprouting yet.
HINT: The key is – don’t use old potatoes. Try to use the freshest spuds you can find. Once they start getting soft and wrinkly, it’s time to farm them out for soups, stews, casseroles, some other potato-laden creation.
You get the picture.
Homemade Potato Chips – An Added Advantage
Do you know how those potato chips from the manufacturer get soggy, stale, and limp – after a few days?
Well, my homemade chips – kept on paper towels in my Rubbermaid container – with a lid – stay crisp and crunchy down to the last few chip crumbs.
Amazing, isn’t it?
Can it get any better than this? Pardon me, if I don’t think so!
Do you have a preferred way to make your own homemade potato chips? I’d like to hear it! Leave a comment or email – and tell me your story.