“Kettle-cooked” chips have us convinced they are the healthier option. I don’t mean just the brand “Kettle”, it refers to all brands with the same type of chip, but for arguments sake I will refer to them as the “Kettle cooked” chips.
There is a difference between “Kettle cooked” chips and regular potato chips. It is the way in which they are cooked. You see, regular chips are cooked together on the conveyor belt whereas the “Kettle cooked” chips are cooked in batches along the conveyor belt. One batch is removed before the next is put on and then cooked, and so on and so forth. It’s this process that makes the texture difference.
With regular chips being cooked together, they are put through the high temperature oil, moving along the conveyor belt. This is known as the continuous fry method.
Whereas, for the “Kettle cooked” chips, the method is different – batch cooking! That’s where a batch of potatoes are dumped into the vat, cooked and removed, then the process starts again; dumped, cooked, removed. With this method the oil temperature changes, reduces, each time a new batch of potatoes are dumped in, thus, changing the temperature. It is this temperature change that causes the chips to be so different; imperfect shapes, some darker than others and the all-important crusty, crispy, crunch.
But are they healthier?
Well that’s a good question and unfortunately, I think I am going to crush some hopes here. Not really! You could say that “Kettle cooked” chips have the upper hand due to the lower temperature of the oil because as we all know conventional methods with high temperature cooking oils cause oxidation which creates damaging free radicals. BUT… this is a very small difference in heat, which may in fact be insignificant with the result.
Essentially the same ingredients go in, it’s just the difference in cooking methods. The nutritional details are near identical, which if you take a closer look aren’t that great themselves.
Don’t worry, I too let out a sigh of disappointment. All this time I thought I was eating the healthier of the two. But if I’m honest… I can’t go without the crisp and crunch from a batch dunked potato chip.