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I am working on developing a new dish for our bar menu at work--pulled pork sandwich, with homemade potato chips. Frying chips to order seems like a silly idea, especially since chips (or crisps if you prefer) can have such a long shelf life.

Assuming a lack of preservative chemicals (we try to avoid that sort of thing), what is the best way to store chips/crisps to retain crunch?

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Why is frying them to order silly? It wouldn't take any longer than frying a batch of blanched fries, which is usually done to order. –  kevins Jul 21 '10 at 18:09
    
Only silly in the sense that since they can be stored, save time on-line by doing so. The humidity in our kitchen particularly would be a concern though. –  daniel Jul 22 '10 at 16:49
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Anything susceptible to moisture will go stale if exposed to air long enough. Storage will only get you so far, depending on the temperature and humidity in the storage area. In a restaurant kitchen, I don't have to tell you that both are rather high.

I'd suggest blanching them after cutting. You could basically cook them through then store them in a relatively air-tight container for a period of several days. When a customer orders chips you'd just drop the blanched chips in the deep fryer long enough to brown and crisp them. This is what essentially every restaurant outfit that serves chips and/or french fries does and it works well. Experiment with blanching temperatures and liquids to see what works best.

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Yeah, that's what I was thinking. I was just hoping there was a simpler way. Ah well. –  daniel Jul 22 '10 at 16:53
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Commercial potato chips keep for a long time, in a sealed bag. Often they contain no preservative other than salt. They are sometimes "packaged in a protective atmosphere" - that is, the gas in the bag isn't normal air - but I suspect that treatment is reserved for the higher end of the market.

If commercial chip manufacturers can make them last months -- and have achieved this for at least half a century -- then you can make them last a week in your kitchen. I think your customers can reasonably expect "home made potato chips" to be at most a week old.

Try storing them in airtight containers. Lots of smallish ones, so you're not constantly opening one big tub, letting more and more moisture in. That may be good enough. If not, consider popping a silica gel moisture-absorbing sachet into each container before sealing.

One thing I'd add; commercially made potato chips are made to very high standards. There are some foods that demand to be freshly prepared in the kitchen. I'm not sure you can better a premium brand commercial potato chip, in your own kitchen.

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