French fries are an American icon, with billions of pounds sold by grocery stores and restaurants daily. But as public consciousness about healthy foods grows, restaurant french fries have fallen out of favor, while home cooks look for ways to make their favorite treat healthier.
Homemade french fries are becoming a new trend with good reason. The sodium content can be controlled at home. Home cooks can control the ingredients of the fries, as well as the oil the fries are fried in. French fries can also be customized when made from home.
Are you ready to find out more reasons why you should eat homemade french fries? Then let’s get started!
1. French Fries Are Not Whole Potatoes.
French fries sold in restaurants usually don’t have the peelings left on, which is where a lot of the nutrition hangs out. Whole potatoes that have their skins offer up to 80% more iron than peeled potatoes. When you make homemade fresh-cut french fries, you are free to leave the peelings on to retain the nutrition.
2. You Can Control the Ingredients Better.
While you can’t necessarily control all the ingredients found in the frozen fries you get in the grocery store, you can control the cooking method, and the oil, if you choose to fry the fries. You have better control if you decide to make your fries from scratch, as you won’t have the preservatives that come with frozen fries. If you bake your fries, you can add herbs to make them tastier.
3. Baked Fries Tend to Be Healthier.
Fried foods hang on to a lot of the fat used for frying, which tastes like grease when they cool off. Also, the oil that fries are usually fried in contains trans fats, which may increase the risk of heart disease.
If you choose to DIY, you can either make large wedges or thin fries and any other shape you wish, especially if you bake them. Fries that are baked at lower temperatures may also decrease the risk of acrylamide that occurs with higher temperatures in fried foods. Acrylamide is a neurotoxin that increases the risk of cancer.
4. The Sodium Content Can Be Better Controlled at Home.
Frozen fries have some sodium added as a preservative, but the amount is minimal compared with restaurant french fries. With that being said, if you choose to make fresh-cut fries, you have even more control over the type of salt used, such as sea salt. You can also decide how much salt you use, which may be necessary for people needing to watch their sodium intake.
Much of the salt used in commercial businesses is sodium chloride, which is a type of salt compared to sea salt or unrefined salt. Sea salt does not have the extra minerals or nutrients removed compared with refined table salt.
5. You Can Choose Your Frying Oil.
Vegetable oils may not be as healthy as olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil. Home cooks watching the type of fats that go into their family’s diet can better choose the oil fries are cooked with. But in restaurants, you don’t have control over the oil that your fries are cooked in, and they may not be as healthy as those you make at home.
6. Your Creative Side Can Come Out to Play.
When making fries at home, you have several options to play with concerning flavors, textures, and shapes. You can bake cottage fries with rosemary and olive oil for a breakfast dish, or you could prepare steak fries with the peels left on that’s been covered with Italian herbs and avocado oil and serve with a nice rib-eye steak for dinner.
Homemade frozen fries still give you some creativity when it comes to flavors and cooking methods. But you are limited to the flavors that manufacturers decide to use.
7. An Air Fryer Creates Healthy French Fries.
Air fryers are all the rage lately, as you can use one to fry many types of food without oil. Chicken fingers, steaks, and french fries can be cooked healthfully and keep extra calories out of your meal. While you may think that frying with air wouldn’t create crisps fries, many people who own one swear by it and prefer air-fried french fries over those fried in oil.
8. You Can Customize Your French Fries.
While you can customize frozen fries to an extent and create several flavor combinations, fresh-cut fries can be further customized by using different root vegetables. Sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips, and turnips have more nutrition and give you more variety than the average white potato.
The carbohydrate content of the other root vegetables may also be lower than white potatoes, and if you’re looking to lower the carb count of your meals, you might look at different varieties to make your fries with.
9. Fresh-Cut Fries Are Easy to Prepare.
Frozen fries are convenient and simple to prepare because all you do is take them out of the freezer and cook them with your favorite method. Fresh-cut fries may take a little more work than that, but they are easy to prepare.
Wash and slice your potatoes, then place in a bowl of salt and cold water to keep them from oxidizing, or turning brown. When you’re ready to flavor and cook, drain and set on a baking sheet lined with a paper towel. Flavor your fries if you’re going to bake them, or get your oil hot.
Then cook according to recipe directions, and voila! You have fresh-cut homemade fries.
10. Homemade Fries Can Be a Family Event.
Home cooks who have young children that want to help in the kitchen can make homemade fries with help from the entire family. You can host a “family french fry” night where everyone gets to add their flavorings to the fries before baking or creating their favorite dipping sauce.
11. Baked Fries Might Have a Longer Shelf Life.
Because baked fries do not bathe in oil while cooking, they may retain their crispiness and flavor longer than restaurant fried french fries.
12. Leftover Fries Are Good in Other Dishes.
When baked, leftover french fries can be saved to make into other creative dishes. You can create an egg-potato casserole for breakfast, or a roasted vegetable dish to go with an entree for dinner. They can be used for nachos made with fries instead of tortilla chips, or you can use them in the traditional Canadian dish, Poutine, which consists of gravy and cheese curds over french fries.
13. Homemade Fries Are Cheaper Than Restaurant Fries.
Whole potatoes cost less per pound than frozen fries or restaurant fries. Frozen fries, per serving, also cost less than what you pay for at a restaurant. So, if you are looking to stay on a tight budget, make your fries at home.
When making french fries at home, you can control everything down to the type of vegetable that you use, which increases the nutritional content of your fries. Also, you save some money by making your fries at home, and you can use leftovers for other meals.
Condiments are also super simple to create at home, and you have more choices than you would in a restaurant. You can make simple sauces with mayo, ketchup, and mustard, or you can create your barbecue sauce at home. Sour cream and ranch dressing makes an entirely new sauce that would pair well with root vegetables.