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Potato sides are a starchy favorite for many foodies around the globe, and one of the most common recipes is French fries. If you are a fan of American home or French fries, you may have wondered what the difference is between these well-loved fries. Is there a fry option that is healthier than others? We’ve researched these questions and have found substantial answers to share with you!
American home fries are pan-fried potatoes cut into small cubes or slices, fried in butter with onions, peppers, and a medley of seasonings. French fries are made by peeling the raw potatoes and cutting them into long, thin strips for baking or frying. The main difference between the two is how the potatoes are cut, seasoned, and prepared.
Are you interested in learning more about potato sides? Perhaps you are curious about how to prepare a healthier version of these fries at home? Wondering if air fryers are worth the investment? Please continue reading this article; we have informative results to share with you!
Where are home fries from?
Home fries originated from The United States of America, with a strong following in the country’s southern states. These well-loved potatoes have become a staple for breakfasts and snacks around the world. Generally, home cooks and professionals prepare home fries peeled or unpeeled with butter or oil and embellished with peppers, onions, and seasonings.
Are home fries healthier than French fries?
Consuming French fries regularly can be harmful to your overall health and wellbeing because most commercially processed French fries are high in calories, fats, starches, and sodium. Eating several portions of deep-fried French fries each week will negatively impact one’s cardiovascular system.
Also, a study conducted by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition claimed that potatoes have a high glycemic index, which was linked to the risk for obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. The study found that participants who ate fried potatoes two to three times per week increased their mortality risk than the other participants who only consumed unfried potatoes.
Author and dietician, Elaine Magee, ranked home fries second for most healthful choice for potato sides. Magee’s statement only pertained to small portions of home fries prepared with heart-healthy oil, and the skins were left on the potatoes. The research concluded that fried potatoes dishes are not a healthy choice, but with portion control and moderation, one could reduce the risk but not eliminate it entirely.
Are you wondering how to make French fries extra crispy? Click here to read our article that provides detailed information for this tasty topic!
Are air-fried French fries healthy?
Healthline stated that air fryers cut the fat percentages within fried foods by 50% to 75%. This is unlike traditional deep- fryers where the foods are submerged in fat or oil.
The air fryer differs because hot air cooks the foods via air circulation, which triggers a chemical reaction termed the Maillard reaction. This reaction occurs when amino acids in the foods are in contact with extremely hot air, reducing the natural sugars and accelerating the browning and crisping processes.
The air frying process significantly reduces calories and fats, which is the main advantage of choosing air-fried French fries. Rather than eating fries submerged in gallons of fatty oils, the air fryer may require a tablespoon or less oil per batch of fries.
Suppose you are interested in air frying potatoes? Click here to read our article that provides ten outstanding air fryer recipes!
Are hash browns healthier than French fries?
Commercially produced hash browns are comparable to French fries because both are deep-fried in unhealthy oils and heavily salted by most food producers and restaurants. Consider preparing your hash browns at home without butter or saturated oil, and reduce salt for the healthiest option.
The most effective method of preparing hash browns at home would be to purchase prepared hash browns from the freezer section. Choose the bags with shredded potatoes instead of the traditional brick-sized hash browns. The shredded varieties without additives are usually fat-free, with low sodium levels. However, be mindful to read the ingredients to ensure the ingredients are low sodium.
If you choose to pan-fry your hash browns, only use a non-stick pan. Place the shredded hash browns into the pan at medium heat for about 15 minutes. Flip the hash browns as needed to crisp them thoroughly.
Suppose you prefer the oven-baked method. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, line the baking sheet with parchment paper, and evenly spread the shredded hash browns. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the edges and tops are browned and crispy.
Safety precautions for preparing hash browns
Hash browns are easy and fairly quick to prepare for breakfast or a snack. Moreover, there are a few precautions you will want to keep in mind to ensure you and your loved ones stay healthy.
When purchasing frozen hash browns, always keep the bag in the freezer. It is not advisable or necessary to allow the bag to thaw before preparing the hash browns.
Also, to prevent consuming undercooked foods, use your food thermometer to check the inner temperature of the hash browns. The correct inner temperature for fully cooked hash browns is 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Check the temperature whether you are baking, cooking, or air frying. When preparing hash browns in the oven, always wear oven mitts to prevent burns.
What is the healthiest type of potato?
The University of Maine states that potatoes are nutrient-dense powerhouses with an impressive shelflife compared to other tuber family vegetables. The healthiest types of potatoes are the purple or red varieties because these have higher levels of antioxidants, fibers, minerals, and vitamins than yellow or white potato varieties. Moreover, regardless of the variety, all potatoes contain these nutrient properties and are considered nutrient-dense foods.
Vitamin C is one of the most vital vitamins found in every variety of potatoes. Purple potatoes have the highest percentage at 18 mg, 20% DV per 3.5-ounce serving. The standard white potatoes have 9.5 mg, 11% DV, per 3.5-ounce baked serving.
Purple potatoes contain nearly twice as much vitamin C; another reason to choose this nutrient powerhouse the next time you are at the farmers market or the grocery store.
Moreover, all potatoes, regardless of color or variety, are low in calories. The caloric values only become excessively high when deep frying or adding condiments such as fatty mayonnaise, sugary ketchup, and sour cream. Potatoes are only deemed harmful to human health when deep-fried in unhealthy fats that strip them of their natural nutrients.
The University of Maine suggests only preparing potatoes with heart-healthy oils, such as olive or sunflower oil, and avoid deep frying as a method of preparation. Rather use stovetop cooking, baking, or broiling; these cooking methods eliminate the need for saturated frying oils.
Also, if you enjoy whole sour cream as a condiment, consider replacing it with the low-fat option to reduce the intake of saturated fats further. To reduce sugar intake, consider replacing ketchup with mustard or pesto for a flavorful flare.
The information presented in this article is not to be used in place of nutritional or medical advice. Suppose you decide to make changes in your diet or you would like further information. Please get in touch with your doctor or dietician.
French fries and hash browns can be a delicious treat for friends and family to gather for a few laughs and share a tasty breakfast. Often life’s most memorable moments occur when sharing meals with loved ones! Always monitor your portions and opt for the air-fried options when possible, or prepare your own potato sides at home for reduced health risks.
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