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Why are some potatoes better than other for frying or making French fries? What is the chemistry in that? And how do I apply this method in selecting different veggies for different uses?

  • See: cookingissues.com/2010/04/27/… and cookingissues.com/index.html%3Fp=4043.html I am not posting an answer, because I don't think Dave Arnold ever published the results of his experiments with specific potatoes (I could be wrong). However, these links contain a lot of useful information. – moscafj Dec 27 '19 at 19:20
  • I can't answer why, but being from potato country I can say what kind of potato is used the most for french fries - the russet. J.R. Simplot, the late potato king, made his fortune producing russet potatos. The Simpot corporation provides the potatoes that frequently show up as french fries, including McDonald's french fries. – Charles Dec 27 '19 at 19:50
  • The Belgians use the Bintje potato: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bintje They are pretty good at fries. – moscafj Dec 28 '19 at 0:01
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It's all about starch content of the potato. Waxier potatoes are wetter, meaning they have a lower start content and higher water content. They don't fry that well because they have too much water to crisp up properly. Starchier, drier potatoes are better for thin fries, but they aren't as good for chunky fries as they are actually too dry to give a fluffy inside. For chunky fries (aka chips), wedges or roast potatoes you want a potato with a medium starch content.

As for application to vegetable selection nothing comes immediately to mind, potatoes are vegetables from a botanical point of view but from a cooking point of view they are very different from most other things you prepare. Potatoes are just big balls of starch and water, so the advice above would only apply to foods that are structurally similar, like sweet potatoes and yams.

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