French fries

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
French fries
Preparation (second frying)

French fries ( french fries [de terre] fries [ pɔm (də tɛʁ) fʁit ] German:-fried (earth) Apples '), commonly known in Germany often fries ([ pɔməs ]) or chips called, are deep fried sticks of potatoes . Originally distributed in Belgium , it is now available worldwide as a side dish and snack . In Germany, they are one of the most popular frozen products with annual sales of almost 300,000 tons .


To prepare French fries, large peeled potatoes are cut lengthways into sticks of just under one centimeter diagonally and a length of 4 to 10 cm, then the starch is washed off, dried on an absorbent pad and then in vegetable oil or - as is common in Belgium - with beef fat Fried twice: cooked the first time at a temperature of approx. 140 to 180 ° C until they are pale yellow, after cooling the second time at approx. 190 to 200 ° C (near the smoke point ) until they turn golden have and swim upstairs. If you deep-fry them in one go, they won't cook on the inside or too dark on the outside. If too many French fries are added to the fat at the same time, it will cool down considerably and the potatoes will soak up too much fat, as a protective crust does not immediately form. Before serving, the french fries are drained and usually salted.

For catering and private use French fries produced industrially as semi-finished product. For this purpose, they are deep- frozen after the first deep-frying and then only have to be deep-fried or baked in the oven once for consumption. In some cases, industrially produced French fries are formed from mashed potatoes or potato granules .

Elongated potatoes are mainly used for the industrial production of French fries. Potato varieties with a slightly yellow color are preferred so that the finished product looks golden brown and not gray; and at the same time with a high starch content so that the French fries do not collapse too much when the water evaporates. Suitable varieties are, for example, Agria , Bintje , Granola and Ditta .

After washing, the potatoes are peeled off in a steam peeler , then blanched , cut with water jets, pre-dried in belt dryers and then baked in large, continuously operated deep fryers . This is followed by cooling and freezing in cooling / freezing tunnels . Systems for the production of French fries achieve outputs of up to 25 t of finished product per hour. Flavorings are lost through steam peeling and blanching and the product contains more water (up to 73%) than is the case with traditionally made French fries (65%).

The largest manufacturers worldwide are McCain Foods , Simplot and Lamb Weston .


French fries with ketchup in a disposable cardboard tray

A document allegedly dating back to 1781 claims that the preparation of French fries in what is now Belgium had been practiced for more than a hundred years (1680 or earlier):

“The people of Namur , Huy and Dinant have a habit of fishing in the Meuse and then deep-frying this catch to expand their menu (especially poor people). When the waters are frozen over and fishing is difficult, locals cut potatoes into fish shapes and then deep-fry them. This approach is more than a hundred years old. "

The authenticity of this document is controversial, especially since potatoes have only been documented for the area around the Meuse since 1709.

The German cookbook author Henriette Davidis described French fries as follows in 1845:

French fries or raw fried potatoes You peel raw potatoes and cut them round with a knife so that they are about the size of a walnut, or you prick them out like a curl with a potato borer; you can also cut them into oblong, square strips. You wash them, dry them on a cloth and roast them, sprinkled with salt, swirling them frequently in plenty of butter, until they are cooked through and brown on all sides. - They are added to large pieces of meat, such as beef, mutton, pork or venison. "

- Henriette Davidis : Practical cookbook for the common and fine kitchen, published by W. Herlet, G. mb H. 1845, p. 6,107-110 No. 107

In contrast, Pierre Leclercq, expert on nutritional history in 2016 on Deutschlandfunk, said:

“... it was a Bavarian who learned to cook in Paris and then sold it as one of the first Belgian fries on the Liège fair stand in 1838. Monsieur Fritz, as he was called, was considered the king of fries - he died young but rich. "

According to Pierre Leclerq, part of the problem of the origin of french fries is the fluctuating understanding of the term. In the 18th and 19th centuries, this term was used to mean different methods of preparation than today (see above). Historical recipes show that “pommes de terres frites” usually did not stand for the chopsticks meant today, but for potato slices (which also explains the English term “chips”) or even puree balls. It was also the case that these were not necessarily fried, but simply fried in fat. This means that in many historical mentions it is only a matter of simple fried potatoes. Pierre Leclerq assumes that the origin of deep-frying potatoes dates back to the fairs of the 18th century and that the chopstick shape probably only appeared at the beginning of the 20th century, although it is impossible to say who first used this shape.

Today, outside of Belgium, France and the Netherlands , French fries are seen as a rather simple side dish to grilled meat, fish, sausages and the like. They are often served with ketchup , mayonnaise , mustard , tartar sauce and the like, sometimes with vinegar , especially in Great Britain.

In Belgium , food stalls usually offer a variety of different sauces for the french fries. The most common include not only ketchup and mayonnaise also joppiesaus (curry and onions), tartar sauce (with chives), béarnaise sauce , cocktail sauce , peanut sauce , sauce andalouse (with mayonnaise and tomato paste) sauce samourai (spicy with sambal ) and pickles with Pickles . The Belgians have the highest per capita consumption of fries in the world. Belgian fries are fried twice in beef fat until they "sing".

French fries are also an integral part of several established national dishes , such as moules fries (with mussels , Belgium and northern France), fish and chips (with breaded fish, Great Britain ) or poutine (with cheese curds and gravy, Québec ).

Health aspects

Fat content

French fries have a reputation for being particularly fatty, but if properly prepared, the fat content is only ten to 15 percent. If fat that is too low a temperature is used, the fat content increases. In addition, there may be high-fat sauces such as mayonnaise . McDonald’s has a fat content of 15 percent for its french fries, Burger King of 16 percent.

Burger King, McCain et al. a. are now also entering the American market with low-fat French fries, which are said to have a fat content of only around 3–9 percent. The lower fat content results from a changed recipe for the batter that surrounds the French fries. Viscosity-increasing HPMC must be added to this thin one-point dough . According to the package, pre-fried and frozen French fries for preparation in the oven contain around five to eight percent without adding any additional fat.

trans fatty acids

Depending on the preparation, French fries have a high proportion of trans fatty acids due to the corresponding deep-frying fat , which lead to an increase in cholesterol (LDL type) in the human body and also increase the risk of heart disease.

In New York City (USA) (US English. Is by law since July 2007. fries for the preparation of French fries French Fries ), only the use of cooking oil, margarine and shortenings allowed. In addition, the proportion of trans fatty acids per serving must not be more than 0.5 grams.

In Denmark , too , the content of trans fatty acids in food is limited by law to 2 grams of trans fatty acids per 100 grams of fat.

There is no legal food labeling in Germany. When buying French fries, the consumer only gets a clue with the designation “partially hydrogenated fats”.


The Maillard reaction - depending on the frying temperature - can produce comparatively high amounts of acrylamide , which is suspected of causing cancer . As a preventive measure, health authorities now recommend a maximum guideline value of 175 ° C; in North Rhine-Westphalia it is mandatory as a border for restaurants and canteens . In the meantime, deep fryer manufacturers also recommend a maximum value of 170 ° C. The German Society for Fat Science recommends a fat temperature of approx. 160 ° C.

Due to the lower temperature, French fries are, on the other hand, more fatty and also produce less of the desired flavoring substances. Critics note that with only occasional consumption and an overall balanced diet, the increased acrylamide exposure can be viewed as little concern, especially since a clear connection between the acrylamide intake through food and the acrylamide content of the blood is in question.


In the written form, French fries is the leading variant, which is pronounced based on the French origin (without pronouncing "-es"). Pommfritt is also derived from this , mostly in the majority of Pommfritts , which are written in the usual German form.

French fries and fries

In everyday use, the term "French fries" is common throughout the German-speaking area. Otherwise, the short form "French fries", which is spoken according to the German standard wording, has become widely accepted. In Siegerland, Sauerland, Rhineland, Luxembourg and Saarland, the term "Fritten" continues to be the common form, probably influenced by the proximity to Belgium, derived from the French-language term "frites" and the Dutch term "frieten" .

French Fries and Freedom Fries

In the USA, french fries only became known after the return of the US soldiers from Europe after the First World War , where they were introduced to the french fries by French-speaking Belgian troops. In North America, all potatoes baked in deep fat have since been referred to as French fries (fries capitalized), and deep-frying is generally known there as French frying . The process of deep-frying potatoes had long been known in the USA, Thomas Jefferson had crispy fried potatoes ("Pommes de terre frites à cru, en petites tranches") served in the White House as early as 1802, but not under the name of French fries .

In British English, only the long thin fries are called French fries (fries in lower case), while the deep-fried thick potato slices and pieces, known since the 1860s, are still called chips . Although industrially produced deep-frozen fries are increasingly being processed in Great Britain, the thin French fries are still declared as chips , especially in traditional British dishes such as fish and chips . Otherwise, a distinction is made between “ dry, greasy, American French fries ” from American fast food chains and “ juicy, low-fat, hearty, traditional British chips ”.

During the Iraq war in the USA , because France rejected the Iraq war waged by the USA, the name French fries , which is customary there, was replaced by Freedom Fries ("freedom fries "). After the war, the term Freedom Fries disappeared from the usage.

Colloquial terms

French fries with ketchup and mayonnaise are sometimes referred to as red and white French fries . The name Pommes Schranke (as an allusion to the color pattern of railway barriers ) comes from the Ruhr area , where the dish is also called “Manta plate” or “Manta plate”. On the Lower Rhine and in the Netherlands, you can also find the designation Pommes Spezial or Fritten Spezial (Dutch: friet speciaal ), with which raw onion pieces are garnished in addition to ketchup and mayonnaise . In Lower Saxony, French fries with currywurst are also known as "Knüppel mit Gerümpel" and "(Old) Chancellor platter" (alluding to Gerhard Schröder). The name Pont-Neuf potatoes is also common regionally .

Web links

Commons : French Fries  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: French fries  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Status: 2012, source:
  2. Hervé This, Riddles and Secrets of the Art of Cooking. Explained scientifically. Piper-Taschenbuch, 9th edition, Munich, Zurich 2001, ISBN 3-492-23458-5 .
  3. Report of the Cantonal Laboratory Zurich, January 2003 : “Background to the tips on French fries with minimized acrylamide exposure” , see section: “Suitable potatoes” (PDF file).
  4. Company publication of Dornow food technology GmbH p. 5.
  5. Fries: from poor people's food to the Belgian national dish. In: Belgian Broadcasting , June 2, 2010.
  6. a b Leclercq, Pierre (February 2, 2010). La véritable histoire de la pomme de terre frite ,, mentioning the work of Fernand Pirotte on the history of the potato
  7. ^ Christoph Driessen: History of Belgium. The divided nation. Regensburg 2018, p. 92
  8. Suzanne Krause, repository; Keno Mescher, director; Britta Fecke, Editor: Faces of Europe: Moules-Frites. A brief cultural history of the Belgian national dish . Ed .: Deutschlandfunk. 20th June 2015.
  9. ^ Paul Ilegems: Het volkomen frietboek. A Belgian cultuurgeschiedenis. Amsterdam / Antwerp 2002, 9
  10. ^ Christoph Driessen: History of Belgium. The divided nation. Regensburg 2018, p. 92
  11. a b Satisfries ( Memento of the original from September 28, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. at: (English) . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  12. Dennis Ballwieser : Fast Food Direction Dispute: Reduced-fat fries instead of salad., September 24, 2013, accessed September 25, 2013 .
  13. Gamble, MH; Oil uptake during potato slice frying; Loughborough University of Technology 1987 (Diss.).
  14. ^ "First round - French fries" , Atlas of everyday German language (AdA), Phil.-Hist. Faculty, University of Augsburg, November 10, 2005.
  15. ^ Karen Hess: The Origin of French Fries . In: PPC (Petits Propos Culinaires), journal of food studies and food history (3 × / year by Prospect Books, Devon) . No. 68, November 2005, p. 39.
  16. Julia Korbik: French fries barrier: Ambassador of the EU Capital of Culture 2010. In: Cafebabel from August 6, 2010.