Many restaurants are switching over to fresh-cut fried potato products. These include the traditional French fry, wedges and other cuts. The trend is in-keeping with national trends to present consumers with fresher and more wholesome choices.
So, first off, let’s compare the frozen par-fry used in so many restaurants with our fresh potato. In a commercial French fry operation, potatoes are received in bulk, washed, peeled, cut, blanched, fried and frozen. What is packaged is not 100% potato as manufacturers add sugars, salts and the potato will absorb approximately 6-7% oil during the frying process. Par-fries are approximately 56 – 62% moisture; a figure that depends upon solids in the potato. Raw potatoes are approximately 80% moisture so par-frying reduces the moisture level by about 20%. The blanch step also serves to rinse sugars and potato starch from the potato so the potatoes going into the fryer are fairly “clean.” One potential concern with par-fried frozen potatoes is the quality of the oil in which they are fried. If the oil has been abused or damaged, that oil will be absorbed by the potato during frying and will be exchanged with the oil in the foodservice fryer. Oil from the potatoes that is compromised can end up damaging fryer oil in the foodservice operation shortening oil life and adversely affecting overall food quality. Ideally, the frozen products should be placed into the fryer while still frozen. Allowing them to thaw before frying will compromise overall quality. However, since they are partially fried, they can be finished very quickly.
As mentioned, the fresh potato is 80% moisture so this is what a foodservice operator starts with. They will inspect, wash and dry the potatoes before use. They are usually sliced without peeling. They are usually rinsed, dried and placed into the fryer and fryer and fried. There is no issue with abused oil being a part of the potato, but there is another concern.; potato starch. If the potatoes are not rinsed and dried, potato starch may build up in the fryer compromising fryer performance and later in the day, performance of the oil treatment system. In addition, failing to dry the potato after rinsing can result in what might be called a mini explosion. Both par-fried potatoes and fresh cut potatoes are fried to approximately the same moisture and fat levels, that is, 13 – 16% fat and approximately 55% moisture. This means that the frying process will be longer than what is need for par-fried products.
The amount of water that must be “cooked out” of the potato is a concern with these products. Although many find it hard to believe, frying oils can contain 2 – 3% bound water. This is an element that can compromise oil quality. The good thing is our Filtercorp SuperSorb® carbon pad can remove bound water while enhancing oil quality. So, whether you cook fresh-cut or traditional par-fries, we know that our Filtercorp SuperSorb® carbon pad will help you better manage your oil.
With Filtercorp’s, easy-to-use, Find My Filter tool, simply select the manufacturer of your fryer, find your fryer model, and you can easily match or locate the Filtercorp filter that is compatible with your fryer. We make a filter to fit most major fryer filter machines on the market. Start improving the life of your oil now and have more consistent food quality all while saving money.
Contact Filtercorp today to learn more about our frying oil filtration and maintenance solutions. Experience first-hand the Filtercorp difference by requesting a sample!