Fried potatoes, commonly known as french fries, are one of the most popular fast food items in North America -- just about everyone has had them, but not everyone has perfected the art of frying them. Many people overcook french fries, which make them dry, hard and not so tasty. If you want to get a perfectly crisp, golden on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside batch of french fries, you'll need to follow a few basic steps.
Wash and peel potatoes.
Cut a potato in half, lengthwise. Place the flat side of the potato down and cut in half again. Continue this process until you have cut the entire potato into evenly sized strips. Do this with the remainder of the potatoes.
Heat the oil in a deep frying machine. You can also use a deep cast-iron pot, but a deep frying machine is safer and less likely to create a grease fire.
Check if the oil is hot enough and ready by placing the handle of a wooden spoon into it. You will know it is ready as soon as you see tiny bubbles rushing up around the handle of the wooden spoon. This is an important step, so be sure to follow it. If you put the fries in the oil too soon, they will become saturated with oil and this will result in soggy, greasy french fries.
Place the cut-up potatoes in the hot oil.
Leave the fried potatoes to cook thoroughly until they float to the top of the oil. Once they float up to the top and stay there for one full minute, they are done. The key to knowing when they are done is that they will all float and stay on the surface of the oil.
Some people like their french fries more well-done than others. In this case, leave the potatoes floating on the surface of the oil for two minutes, rather than just one.
Exercise caution not to splash oil which can cause serious burns or even a kitchen fire if it lands on the element of your stove.
A resident of Canada, Allison Williamson is a former U.N. documentation specialist with international experience in sustainable development and health education. She currently works from home as a writer, blogger and webmaster/designer. She specializes in sustainability issues, green living, organic farming, women's health and homeopathy.