Like everything else it’s all about the way we process and cook our potato chips to:
- Reduce the toxins in the potatoes
- Reduce the cancer causing acrylamide production
- Eliminate the use of industrial nut and seed oils
Okay, in order to understand how important all of this is you need you understand that potatoes, despite their prevalence in our modern diets, are toxic. They contain glycoalkaloids (α-solanine and α-chaconine) and, when they are improperly stored they can become even more toxic.
Don’t believe me? Check out this article from the Smithsonian Magazine.
Tips to safely eat potatoes
Certainly, we need to be aware of the dangers of potatoes and limit our consumption. For those of you who still love to eat potatoes her are a few basic tips to implement immediately. These go for all potatoes and all types of cooking applications:
- Store potatoes in a cool, dry, dark place
- If they begin to turn green and/or sprout DO NOT EAT. They are not fit for human consumption at this point and should be composted
- The peels contain a higher level of toxin and potatoes SHOULD ALWAYS BE PEELED and the peels composted. I realize this is the opposite from what we have been told our whole lives. Whatever nutrition the peels may contain is not worth the dangers the toxins pose to our health.
- Do not use a zero waste approach to potatoes and attempt to find dietary uses for discarded potatoes or their peels. They are not fit for human consumption. They should not be considered food.
- NEVER EAT A POTATO RAW! Cooking does help some with detoxification. Potatoes should always be cooked before consumption.
Taking it back 10,000 years for answers
Beyond those tips, there are other important ways potatoes can be processed to make them as safe and nourishing as possible. I conducted research in the heart of early potato domestication almost 10,000 years ago to better understand traditional detoxification processes with a traditional Aymara family in Bolivia and a traditional Quechua family in Peru. You can find out more about what I learned in this blog I wrote.
We took what we learned through this research and applied it to the way we approach potatoes at the Modern Stone Age Kitchen to create the safest and most nourishing potato chips possible.
How we do it at the MSAK
We make our potato chips by first peeling potatoes then fermenting them for three days. The fermentation process helps reduce toxins and also does something else that is incredibly important…it reduces the starches in the potatoes! Not only does the mean less carbohydrates in the final product for your blood sugar and waistline, but less starch at the time of cooking means less acrylamide production!!!
Acrylamides are cancer causing compounds created when starchy foods are cooked at high temperatures, like frying. In fact, their presence is evident through the browning they produce. Less browning means less acrylamides. Since that starch in the potatoes are the food for the bacteria responsible for the fermentation, the fermentation process reduces the starches and ultimately the amount of acrylamide in the final product! Check out the pictures below from our experiment where we fried potato chips after one, two and three days of fermentation. The browning reduces each consecutive day! Finally, we cook in high quality animal fat (lard) and avoid all industrial nut and seed oils at all costs!
This is definitely one of those instances where we are not suggesting anyone introduce potatoes or potato chips into their diets if they are not already consuming them. However, if you do eat them, these are the healthiest versions we know of!
Stop into the Modern Stone Age Kitchen for lunch and try some with one of our handmade sandwiches!