Healthy Air Fryer French Fries – Truth or Tale
I don’t think I have ever met a person who didn’t like French Fries. What’s not to love? Crunchy outside soft and creamy inside, sprinkled with a little salt, it can heal anything that ails you. The average American consumes 30 pounds of fries per year. Did you know that French Fries are not originally from France? French Fries have been traced back to Belgium in origin, and Thomas Jefferson who the first to bring them to the United States. One serving of fast food French Fries, approximately 1 medium potato cut and deep fried has 365 calories, with 17 grams of fat. What if I were to tell you there is a way to eat your fries without all those fat calories.
The very first air fryer using rapid hot air was invented in 1990. The design and features have evolved quite a bit in the past decades. The newer models are a sleeker design with higher heat and healthier nonstick interior. The concept is this huge fan sits directly over the heating element and forces rapid hot air onto the food. Food that has been sprayed or dipped in oil does come out to a crunchy texture like fried food without the guilt. I have been playing with recipes for air fryers for 20 years. There are good cookbooks out there, I especially like Paula Deen’s Air Fryer Book, and here is a link to my air fryer cookbook. I have been working on the perfect healthy French Fries forever…. or so it seems. I have many different methods; my newest favorite is to Sous Vide the cut potatoes for 45 minutes at 190 degrees, but that is a whole other blog. If you are too busy to try all my silly mad science stuff, I must tell you I have found an outstanding product in the freezer case.
Most frozen fries in the freezer case are going to be incredible in the air fryer, because of the rapid hot air surrounding the fries they are crispier then when laying on a baking sheet in a conventional oven. However, if you are mindful of calories and you are trying to stay away from GMO’s most of the brands in the freezer are not organic not to mention most of them have been previously deep fried in oil. So, you are not eating fewer calories than going through the drive-thru. The brand Alexia has a great variety of high-quality fries, sweet potato varieties and regular. This brand has never been deep fried. One serving of these fries has 120 calories per serving and 4 grams of fat. That is a considerable difference versus the drive-thru fries of over 350 calories and 17 grams of fat. I load the fries into the basket of my large air fryer, I spritz them with Avocado oil, sprinkle with Himalayan salt set the air fryer for 15 minutes on 400 degrees. Shake once or twice while cooking and you will have an excellent French fry super easy!
If you wish to make fresh cut fries, there are a few things to consider, one gets either a mandolin or a French Fry cutter, the potatoes will cook better if they are cut evenly. The second thing to consider is to precook the potatoes before you put in the air fryer. When chefs make regular fries they either blanch the potatoes before frying or the cook them in the oil at a lower temperature first. This ensures a creamy soft center. I do mine differently all the time, I place the fries on a plate and cover with paper towel and microwave for 3 minutes on high, I steam them, as I mentioned above I cut the potatoes and put in a plastic bag them sous vide them for 45 minutes. Make sure you toss or spray the fries with a healthy oil, I use Avocado, but Grapeseed oil or olive oil are excellent. Season with a healthy sea salt. Shake the basket every 5 minutes during the cooking process. If I don’t want to precook my potatoes, using a mandolin on julienne setting I cut the fries, then toss them in a ¼ cup of healthy oil that I have dissolved cornstarch in. The cornstarch in the oil helps to absorb any moisture that may still be in the potato. The come out super crunchy.