How to Make Vegetable Chips
Not very many people tackle making their own vegetable chips. The reason is that is a rather time consuming process. The good news is that if you choose to use your oven or a dehydrator, you can start the process and do other things while the chips are drying. The bad news is that unless you have multiple dehydrators or several ovens, you are very limited as to how many chips can be produced at a time. Frying the chips is much faster, but is frowned upon by those wanting to up the ante on healthfulness and enjoy chips, too.
Start by choosing your vegetables and slicing them into chips.
Almost any firm vegetable can be made into chips. This is especially true of those that are roots or tubers like potatoes, carrots, and turnips. You may enjoy chips as yet another of the many ways to serve zucchini. Having settled on the vegetables, they must be cleaned and sliced into chips. It is your choice about leaving the skin on or removing it.
Use a food processor with the slicing blade to make the chips. This may cost you a little on the size of the chip if the mouth of your processor will not accept the full size of the vegetable. However, this is a very small sacrifice to make in order to slice an entire potato into chips in less than 30 seconds.
Wash the vegetables again after they are sliced.
With potatoes in particular, a second washing will help remove excess starch and other fluid that may drain from the vegetable during slicing. Some will advocate placing the slices in cold salt water and allowing them to soak this way for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. To maintain the best flavor, it may be wise to cover the container while soaking the vegetables. This can draw some of the nutrients from the chips into the water, but it is generally considered a fair trade for the quality boost to the chip.
Consider adding special seasonings to the chips before cooking.
If you like spicy chips or some other flavor, sprinkle this on before you start to cook the vegetables. Do not be overly zealous with the spices because you do not want to created a breading. For the chips to become crispy, their flesh has to be exposed to the oil or oven heat. If salt is the only seasoning to be used, it can be applied immediately after cooking if preferred.
Deep fry the chips in a low fat oil.
If you are strictly going through this process to produce a healthy snack, you will want to use virgin olive oil. However, if your primary reason is to produce a favorite snack at a cheaper price, any good vegetable oil will probably work for you. Make sure that the chips have been dried off as much as possible before dropping them into the hot oil. Water will cause lots of popping and increase the risk of fire and nasty oil burns on your skin.
Test the heat of your oil by dropping in one or two chips. If they do not begin to fry immediately, increase the temperature of your oil by either waiting for it to heat more or raising the burner temperature. Do not rush the oil by overheating it. This can cause your oil to turn brown or black and may affect the taste of the chips.
As soon as the chips look a golden brown, remove them to safe surface covered with paper towels to absorb the excess oil while the chips cool. Do not stack the chips until they are cooled somewhat. This will only take a minute or two.
You can dehydrate or bake the chips.
If you choose to use a food dehydrator, follow the directions concerning how to place the chips into the unit. Also, the dehydrator should give recommendations about drying time for that particular dehydrator. When the chips are finished, you can remove them immediately for serving or storing.
For oven drying, lay out a single layer of seasoned chips on a cookie sheet or baking stone. Treat the utensil to prevent sticking, if necessary, before applying the chips. You can dry more than one sheet at a time if your oven is large enough. Preheat the oven to about 275 or 300 degrees. Bake the chips for about an hour or until they are golden brown. Remove them and allow them to cool completely before storing. If you want, you may serve them while still warm If you are salting the chips, do this before serving or storing.