There are many kinds of fries out there: shoestring, curly, waffle, steak, and potato wedges. Every restaurant or cook has their preference on the type of potato used. But do any of them use red potatoes to make fries? We’ve researched to find out if this is a good idea.
We discovered that red potatoes are a great option to use for making fries. They have plenty of health benefits, especially when you include the skin. They'll also hold their shape better when cooked compared to other types of potatoes.
Continue reading to become knowledgeable about making french fries with red—and other—potatoes.
Does the Type of Potato Matter for Fries?
You would think that a potato is just a potato; you can make fries out of any type, so why would it matter? It matters because of the texture and starch content. Each potato is better suited for one kind of meal. You can use any potato for fries, but it may not be the most satisfactory result.
For example, you wouldn’t want to use Yukon gold or other yellow potatoes. These potatoes don’t have as much starch as other potatoes. That makes these more ideal for roasted and mashed potatoes or boiling them for soups.
Red potatoes have more moisture inside. When frying these, the moisture will escape the potato and interfere with making crisp fries. You’ll still get fries, but it might become a tad soft or soggy.
Because of these factors, you have to adjust your cooking time depending on the potato you use. If using red potatoes, you may want to fry it a few minutes longer than a recipe suggests. That way, the moisture will reduce, and the result will be crispy fries. Yellow potatoes are better used for those that prefer a crunchy exterior but softer interior.
What Type of Potatoes is Best for French Fries?
To make the best french fries, you will want to use a potato that’s high in starch and low in moisture. The best potato that meets these criteria is the Russet potato.
Its high starch content helps people feel full. Starch is categorized as resistant starch, which passes through the large intestine to feed beneficial bacteria.
Despite many people believing that a high amount of starch is unhealthy, Russet potatoes have plenty of nutritional value. By themselves, Russet potatoes have no fat and contain a good percentage of vitamin C and B6, manganese, and potassium. Of course, that will change during the cooking process, depending on how you fry your fries.
Healthline shares a few studies that show how resistant starch can improve your health when consumed in moderation.
When you make fries using Russet potatoes, consider leaving the skin on. Many nutrients are found in the skin. It’s also thin enough to where it’ll aid the overall texture.
What are Red Potatoes Good For?
Red potatoes are usually small in size and round in shape. Its exterior is red (hence the name) and has a yellowish-white interior. Red potatoes are known to have a waxy, smooth, and moist texture.
These potatoes are so universal that they can be used as a side for almost any dish. Red potatoes are great for roasting and pan-frying because of their texture, moisture, and lower starch content.
A great dish you can use red potatoes for is for gratins. The size of a red potato can range from a golf ball to a tennis ball. That makes it great for slicing. Red potatoes would also be the ideal choice for breakfast potatoes.
When it comes to health benefits, red potatoes are great for fueling your body. Black Gold Farms shares that red potatoes do the following:
- Provide high levels of potassium for good blood pressure
- Have energy-providing complex carbohydrates
- Have vitamin B6 for healthy cells and vitamin C for a stronger immune system
Many of these nutrients are found in the skin. We’ll discuss more of the skin later on in this article.
Which Potatoes are the Healthiest?
To figure out the healthiest potato, we first need to break a myth. Sweet potatoes are not entirely healthier than regular potatoes. Sure they have higher vitamin A content, but they have almost the same, if not more, carbs and fat. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s completely unhealthy either.
When comparing the other regular potatoes, you need to look into the following health characteristics:
- Overall nutrient density
- The skin of the potato
For nutrient density, all potatoes have a decent amount of vitamins your body needs. But because each type of potato has its texture and moisture levels, the total amount of nutrients will vary by the type of potato.
Protein and fiber are two elements that help you feel full and consume fewer calories. People who work out are likely to eat white potatoes as they have the most of both.
The skin of the potato is where the majority of the potato’s nutrients can be found. Its texture helps you decide how you may want to prepare your meal ideas.
If you were to list all of the available nutrients, protein/fiber levels, and skin benefits of every potato, you would find that the red potato comes up on top. Red potatoes come out on top --or a very close second-- in essentially every health category.
Regardless of how healthy it may be, remember that it’s still starch-heavy; you must eat it in moderation to prevent weight gain. Just because it has weight LOSING benefits doesn’t mean eating more of it will help you.
Do Red Potatoes Need to be Peeled?
Whether you need to peel the skin of a red potato depends on the dish you’re making. However, dishes that a red potato would work best with don’t require peeling.
In fact, it’s better if you leave the skin on a red potato. As mentioned earlier, the skin is where the majority of the potato’s nutrients exist. Honestly, it might help with the overall taste of the meal as well. For example, normally, you’d peel the skin off of the potato to mash them. If you leave the skin on while mashing them, you might find the taste to be slightly more satisfying.
Dishes that recommend red potatoes are more than likely going to require you to slice them anyway, like the two examples from earlier (gratin and breakfast potatoes). Because of that, it wouldn’t make much sense to peel red potatoes anyways.
Even if you boil them, the benefit of a red potato’s skin is how thin it is. That means biting into it won’t be a problem. People who prefer having a smoother texture for their potato dish would peel them despite the thin skin. No matter what, ensure that you give the surface a good wash to remove any excess dirt.
If you choose to use red potatoes to make french fries, you’d be making a nutritionally wise choice. Leave the skin on because its thinness won’t take away from the overall pleasure of the meal; it might even enhance its flavor.
However, due to its usually small size, you may want to consider other potatoes. You’d end up with some pretty small fries using red potatoes.
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