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I've stopped frying my straw potatoes in the fryer as the straws sink to the bottom and get stuck below the heating element. After a while, some of these raw straws float to the top and mix with the already fried potatoes. I now fry in a pan on the stove.

Is there a way to prevent the straws from sinking to the bottom in the electric fryer?

Edit: I stopped using the mesh basket as the straw potatoes float right through the holes. With the mesh basket, they don't sink to the bottom though.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I thought that all electric fryers came with a mesh basket for the fries. If yours didn't, or if the mesh is coarse enough for the fries to fall through it, you could try to find another basket (I don't know if they are sold separately, but it is worth a try) or make some DIY solution by either suspending a big sieve in the fryer or lining the big-holed basket with fine steel mesh.

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I'm guessing the OP means the straws are small enough to escape the basket? –  Michael at Herbivoracious Jun 5 '11 at 14:27
    
Thanks, but... I've quit using the mesh basket because the straw potatoes get stuck in the mesh and it becomes messy (pun intended). –  BaffledCook Jun 5 '11 at 15:00
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@Michael, that's what I meant by "if the mesh is coarse enough for the fries to fall through it". My point is that if a "straw fry" is 3-4 mm wide, using a big sieve with 1-2 mm holes instead of the original basket should help. –  rumtscho Jun 6 '11 at 12:57
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Try switching from a fry basked to a bird's nest fryer or using a "spider" (restaurant lingo for a flat mesh scoop used in frying and skimming).

You can find a sample bird's nest fryer here and also a spider. The spider looks exactly like the one we use at work. You can also use blanching basket, which is I think what we use for pre-cooking our fries in the restaurant I work at.

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I don't think that works. A bird's nest will produce a bird's nest (methinks) and I already have a spider and don't use it to drop the potatoes in the oil. –  BaffledCook Jun 5 '11 at 19:41
    
A spider works if the oil is hot enough... see James Barrie's post. The bubbles from evaporating water will buoy the fries to the surface –  BobMcGee Jun 6 '11 at 3:58
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You're starting with the fat too cold. You need it screaming hot, before you start.

Put the basket in the fryer and let the oil heat up. When you think it is getting close to working temperature, add ONE chip to the fat, sideways so it will stay in the basket - not pointing downwards. If it doesn't come straight back up to the surface, fish it out with the basket and wait a bit longer. Take another chip and try again - repeat until the chip comes straight back up. Then add the chips quickly, a handful at a time (a spatter guard and gloves are good ideas).

Don't put the chips in the basket, then lower them into the fat - they will stick to the basket. Keep the basket in the fryer and throw the chips into the fat - sideways, so they don't go through the holes in the basket.

LOL you've seen those stupid looking kids in MacDonalds doing this routinely, now you have to give them some kudos - they always put the basket into the oil, then throw the fries in.

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I'll give that a try. I knew I should have worked at McDonalds' –  BaffledCook Jun 6 '11 at 5:53
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A good answer, except for the gloves and spatter guard. Real men wear their hot-oil burn scars with pride... or at least that's what my chef said. :D –  BobMcGee Jun 6 '11 at 7:21
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