Fermented French Fries

Fermented French Fries

2 medium / large potatoes
Salt (2% brine)

Step by step
While fermenting potatoes and then later cooking them as French fries might seem like a slightly paradoxical way to enjoy a fermented food, I’ve always enjoyed the concept of this recipe as much for what it conveys as well as for how it tastes. Fermentation is useful for preservation, of course. But less frequently discussed is the fact that fermentation also breaks down complex sugars and starches and generally makes foods easier for our bodies to process. Probiotics get all the mainstream buzz, but fermentation also makes foods healthier by unlocking nutrients that our own bodies wouldn’t have access to on their own. Many such foods, like beans and starchy vegetables, don’t require a full fermentation. Usually a day or two of brining is sufficient to begin the breakdown.

French fries made from fermented potatoes are not only easier to digest, but more flavorful as well. Fermentation adds a tangy dimension that really complements the saltiness of French fries, creating a flavor dynamic similar to salt and vinegar chips. The longer you ferment the funkier the fries will be, of course, but I usually prefer to toss these in the oven after two or three days of fermentation.

The process is quite simple: Wash the potatoes with cold water to remove any dirt, then cut them up into French fry style wedges. How thick you cut the wedges is entirely up to you. Pack the potato wedges into a jar and fill with a 2% salt water brine (1 teaspoon salt per cup of water). Allow to ferment for two or three days, then remove the potatoes from the brine and give them an hour or so to air dry. After this, you can bake or fry them as you would any other French fry, though they may need less time cooking than normal fries. Keep in mind that fermented French fries have already been salted, so you will likely want to hold off on adding any more salt until after you’ve cooked and tasted them. Additional spices can be added either during the fermentation process, or upon serving. 

And, as pictured above, this same recipe works great for sweet potato fries as well! 

Issue: September 2022