Americans are in love with potato chips. In fact, the average American eats over six pounds of potato chips annually. Recently, however, Frito-Lay voluntarily issued a recall of Lay’s barbecue flavored chips over allergy concerns. Regardless, potato chips aren’t the healthiest thing in your shopping cart. But what about making your own, healthier version of your family’s favorite snack? Here’s everything you need to know about the recall — and about making your own chips!
Recalled chips could cause a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction
If you live in Arizona, Nevada, California, New Mexico, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming, Washington, and Hawaii, you may be wondering where your beloved Lay’s barbecue flavored chips disappeared to. According to the U.S. Food & Drug (FDA) Frito-Lay initiated a recall due to undeclared milk in select bags of Lay’s barbecue flavored potato chips. The potato chips distributed to retail stores, vending machines, e-commerce, mail distribution, and other food venues pose a risk for anyone who has a severe sensitivity or allergy to milk. Consuming chips inside the recalled bags could cause a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction, warns the FDA.
The recall was initiated after bags of Lay’s barbecue flavored chips were found to have been accidentally filled with another flavor of potato chips that potentially contained undeclared milk. To date, no allergic reactions have been reported, and no other Frito-Lay’s chips are recalled. But if you live in the above states and have a recalled product, you can return it to the place of purchase for a refund. Or, you can call Frito-Lay at: 1-800-352-4477.
Americans are eating more chips
When the World Health Organization (WHO) announced COVID-19 was a pandemic, Americans hunkered down and opened a bag of chips. Why? Likely because of boredom and comfort. In fact, according to YouGov data, the number of Americans likely to purchase Lay’s potato chips increased by 35 percent. That may be worrisome if you have recalled chips in your cupboard and a sensitivity or allergy to dairy. If you’re concerned about recalls or even overly processed snacks that are loaded with pesticides and trans fats, here’s a solution. How about growing your own organic potatoes and making healthy potato chips?
Growing your own potatoes is so rewarding
Potatoes are unbelievably simple and rewarding to grow, whether in your yard or a tiny space like a balcony or porch. Yes, you can even grow loads of potatoes in a bucket! In fact, growing potatoes in a container makes harvesting trouble-free for a small-space gardener because all of the tubers grow in one easy-to-reach area. The process is something your entire family will enjoy — from planting to harvesting, to making your own chips.
Start with seed potatoes
To begin, you’ll need to choose seed potatoes. So, what’s the difference between seed and regular potatoes? Visually, nothing; however, there are some important differences between seed potatoes and those you find in the grocery store. Grocery store potatoes have been treated with a sprout-inhibiting chemical that prevents the potatoes’ eyes from developing while waiting to be purchased. Seed potatoes, on the other hand, are never treated with sprout inhibitors. In addition, seed potatoes are certified disease-free. This means you’ll have more success starting with seed potatoes versus starting with grocery store potatoes. You can usually purchase them from a nursery or online seed company. And, of course, you’re not limited to regular potatoes. Sweet potatoes are higher in nutrients and lower in calories.
Sprout, grow, harvest
Once you’ve sprouted your potatoes (about an inch tall) in a light, cool place for a couple of weeks, grab a well-draining container. Keep in mind, each potato plant needs approximately 2.5 gallons of space to grow — that’s two plants per a five-gallon bucket.
- Add a layer of rocks or gravel to the bottom of the container to help with proper drainage.
- Next add about six inches of well-drained loam soil, mixed with rich organic compost to the container.
- Lightly push your potatoes into the soil — sprouts facing up — and cover with about four more inches of soil mix.
- Potatoes require direct sunlight (about six hours of bright light each day.) Make sure to water regularly, but not so much that your potatoes are left in soggy soil to rot.
- As your potato plants grow, about four to six inches above the soil, cover them with more soil so that new tubers can continue to grow. Repeat with each new growth until they reach the top of the bucket.
To harvest, simply reach down and pick as many potatoes as you can reach (ones that are at least the size of an egg.) When the last plant dies, tip over the container and harvest the rest of the potatoes. Each bucket could produce somewhere between eight and 10 pounds of potatoes.
Making your own healthy baked barbecue potato chips
Now that you’ve grown your own potatoes, it’s time to make your own chips. Homemade baked potato chips just taste better. Trust me, the fresh-from-the-oven flavor will make it hard to go back to store-bought chips. Russet potatoes chips bake up crunchier since they have a higher starch content.
- Mandolin or food processor
- Baking sheet
- 1-pound organic, homegrown potatoes, sliced 1/8 -inch thick
- 2 cups cold water
- 2 Tbsp olive or avocado oil
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
- 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- 1/8 tsp chili powder (or to taste)
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- Add potato slices to a large bowl and submerge in cold water for 30 min. Drain and pat dry.
- Preheat the oven to 450° F.
- Brush your baking sheet with 1 Tbsp olive oil.
- Spread potato slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with remaining Tbsp of oil.
- Bake in the oven about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potato chips are a light golden color and look crunchy. Observe, to make sure that the potatoes do not overbrown.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix together spices and brown sugar. Set aside.
- Remove chips from the oven and allow them to cool for about 10 minutes to finish crisping. Toss in barbeque seasoning and enjoy.
There’s no denying it, homemade baked potato chips are just better for you. The calorie difference alone, between homemade and store-bought, is substantial with just over 100 calories per serving for baked, versus just over 600 calories for its greasy counterpart. Not to mention…no pesticides, chemicals, or chance of a recall.