Today I am celebrating. I’ve been married to my best friend for 30 years today. Yep, he’s frustrating sometimes, but so am I. And I wouldn’t trade a minute of our shared heartaches, sorrows, and joys to be with anyone else. We’re Lifers. Sunday was Fathers’ Day and I made this special treat just for him. And he said they were the best potato chips he’d ever tasted.
So, today, I’m taking a break from my series Angora 101, to bring you this special recipe — in honour of 30 years of marriage to my best friend.
Do you find that you can maintain the frugal, healthy, homestead budget for a while and then a long weekend, birthday, or other special occasion comes around and you buy junk-food snacks to help celebrate, or to supplement your homemade treats. June is a month that I tend to do that. The lambing is finished (We’re still tired) and the garden is still a major time and energy drain, as we weed, plant, and transplant — hoping for warmer weather, that we are certain must be just around the corner. On top of that Father’s Day, my middle son’s birthday, and our anniversary fall back to back, one week out of the month. Who can bake a cake three days in a row? Who needs to eat cake 3 days in a row? Well, maybe my husband…
Now most of the junk food contains genetically modified ingredients, that we are trying to avoid. Even from the organic/natural food aisles there’s potato chips deep fried in canola or soy oil. I would just quit buying potato chips, but then one family member or another would sneak a bag into the cart at Overwaitea (grocery store). And a small bag of chips is $5 around here. Time to find a way to do this at home.
By making my own potato or veggie chips, I make sure there are no GM ingredients. I can avoid rancid oils or oils that form carcinogens when heated, like all liquid oils. They aren’t as time consuming or as difficult as I thought they’d be — 30 minutes from start to finish for what a 300 gram bag of chips is. And you can do it without any specialized equipment — you’ll just need a grater or veggie peeler, a colander or strainer, and a frying pan. You can get fancy and use a mandoline. I have one on my wish list at Amazon, right now.
It will make bigger, rounder potato chips, but you don’t need one.
Recipe for Healthy potato chips
3 medium potatoes makes as many potato chips as one of those small bags of chips (250 to 300 gram size).
Scrub but don’t peel 3 potatoes
Using the long side of a grater or a vegetable peeler, slice thin slices off the long side of all 3 potatoes. If you have thicker bits that won’t easily slice, set them aside and don’t use them.
Soak your potatoes in a 2 quart glass bowl of cold water. This removes the starch from the potatoes. I did this while I was slicing the remaining potatoes. With older potatoes you may need to soak them for 30 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear.
Drain for 5 minutes to remove excess water. In the mean time in a small 8 inch frying pan, heat 3 cups of coconut oil — this makes about an inch and a half of oil in the bottom of the pan. I use expeller expressed coconut oil from Tropical Traditions.
Coconut Oil, Organic, Expeller-Pressed – 1 quart
It doesn’t have the coconut flavour, and is nonvolatile at high temperatures. Be careful not to burn the oil. I put it at medium heat until it is heated through and then reduce the stove temperature slightly. Don’t let the oil smoke. The oil is ready, when you splash a few droplets of water into the oil and it sizzles. If it boils up like lava, your oil is too hot, reduce the heat. If it doesn’t fizzle, you need to wait longer.
In the meantime, get a plate or basket and line with a cloth and overlay that with paper towels to absorb the excess oil, from the finished chips.
Divide your sliced potatoes into 4 even portions. When the oil is hot, add 1/4 of your sliced potatoes using a slotted steel spoon. I use the one I use for stir frying and cheese making. Stir slightly to make sure none of the potato pieces are sticking to the bottom of the pan. After 3 minutes, turn chips over. Continue cooking till chips are golden brown. Remove from oil, using slotted spoon and drain on prepared plate or basket. Shake gently to remove excess oil.
Repeat with remaining portions of potato slices. Be careful not to overbrown them and don’t let your oil smoke. If it starts to smoke, turn down your heat source, it should never smoke. Remember that oil can ignite if it gets hot enough. Don’t leave the stove unattended.
Salt with Celtic or Himalayan sea salt and serve while still warm.
Variation – healthy veggie chips
We also tried this recipe with carrot chips. I peeled large, organic juicing carrots, and then sliced the carrot thinly along its length, using a vegetable peeler. You need some wrist strength to do this. Carrots were rinsed and allowed to drain for a few minutes. Then cooked the same way as the potatoes. They were done when the carrots turned golden brown and the cooking oil turned butter yellow. These were the best! The sugars in the carrots carmelized and gave them a yummy, sweet taste.
Try this with yams, sweet potatoes, winter squash, carrots, beets, and rutabagas, or any dense vegetable, that isn’t mostly water. Watery vegetables like zucchini should be battered and breaded before deep frying. Its another way to use your own homestead raised produce. I can’t wait to try this with our Russian Blue potatoes this summer. Yummy! I must find a way to make these salt and vinegar flavoured, Sarah’s favorite.
To clean up:
Allow the oil to cool and strain it into a wide mouth one quart canning jar to use again. It can be reused indefinitely. It won’t go rancid, provided it is kept capped to keep out insects.
If you don’t have coconut oil, organic lard or palm oil will also work. Different oils will give your chips a different texture, because they fry at different temperatures. Avoid burning the oil.
That’s all there is to a healthier and more frugal alternative to store bought potato chips and other junk food snacks. Give it a try and you’ll find lots of ways to make your snacks healthier and fresher, with these easy techniques.