How to Make Crispy Potatoes in a Food Dehydrator

When you're concerned about your health, deep-fried, crispy potatoes are off the menu. But that doesn't mean you can't satisfy your craving for crunchy spuds. Dehydrated potato chips and aren't quite like the real thing, but they are a lot better for your heart and your waistline.

When you're concerned about your health, deep-fried crispy potatoes are off the menu.
Credit: Yulia-Images/Moment/GettyImages

Why Dehydrate Your Spuds?

Almost no one doesn't like crispy, crunchy, greasy potato chips. But almost no one likes gaining weight or getting heart disease or cancer either, and those are all risks associated with consuming fried foods. According to results of a prospective cohort study published in January 2019 in the BMJ, eating fried foods regularly is associated with a higher risk of death from heart diseases and all causes in American women.

This is due primarily to the high amounts of fat and sodium in fried foods — including potato chips and french fries. Take, for example, the American favorite — BBQ flavor potato chips. One serving, which is 1 ounce, provides 9 grams of fat and 320 milligrams of sodium, according to the USDA.

Of the 9 grams of fat in a serving of BBQ potato chips, 1.5 grams are saturated. Saturated fat can increase cholesterol and raise your risk of heart disease, and the American Heart Association recommends a maximum of 5 to 6 percent of calories from saturated fat — but less is better.

Excess sodium increases blood pressure, high levels of which are also a risk factor for heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends a maximum of 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. However, it suggests that an ideal limit is 1,500 milligrams a day. One serving of chips would make up more than one-fifth of that total.

To make matters worse, most people don't eat just 1 ounce of potato chips. Be honest, once you start, it's hard to stop, especially when you're eating right from the bag.

Read more: 9 Better-for-You Potato Chip Swaps

Warning

The American Cancer Society warns that cooking starchy foods at a high temperature causes the formation of a potentially carcinogenic substance called acrylamide. Whether or not the amount in foods poses a real risk to human health is still under investigation.

Making Dehydrated Potato Chips

The good news is that you can eat more than 1 ounce of dehydrated potato chips without breaking the fat and sodium bank. The other good news is that whipping up a batch of dehydrated potato chips is super simple. All you need is a food dehydrator, some spuds, spices and a little bit of heart-healthy olive oil to make these low-calorie, crispy, flavorful versions of your favorite snack foods.

Tip

You can use white potatoes or sweet potatoes. The latter will lend a slightly sweeter flavor, but they'll also contribute extra calcium, iron and vitamin A.

To make salt and vinegar chips:

1. Scrub the potatoes under warm water with a potato scrubber or coarse cloth; then dry thoroughly.

2. Slice the potatoes very thin using a mandolin or a very sharp knife — with caution. You can peel the potatoes or leave the skin on. The skin provides extra nutrients and fiber.

3. Soak the sliced potatoes in apple cider vinegar or white vinegar overnight. This breaks down the starches in the potato so they are less chalky.

4. Rinse the potatoes well and toss with a small amount of olive oil — just enough to lightly coat the slices.

5. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Keep in mind that 1/4 teaspoon has 590 milligrams of sodium, according to the USDA, so be conservative. You can always add more after dehydrating if you think it really needs it.

6. Place the slices in the dehydrator and dry for at least 12 hours. Test the chips, and remove them from the dehydrator when they are to your desired crispness.

To make BBQ flavored chips:

Follow all the steps above, but in addition to the salt, add smoked paprika, onion powder and garlic powder to taste.

Read more: Low Sodium Diet: Easy Tips to Reduce Salt Intake

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