Microwaving French fries cuts cancer chemicals

Microwaving your French fries before you fry them reduces the levels of a cancer-causing substance, reveals findings published today in the SCI’s Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

The discovery of acrylamide – a possible carcinogenic in humans – has led to much research being done to investigate the benefits of alternative cooking methods. Acrylamide forms during processes such as frying, baking and roasting where high-temperature and low-moisture conditions exist.

Although numerous studies have been conducted to explore the possibilities of reducing acrylamide levels in French fries, a team of researchers from Turkey has shown that by reducing the frying time and hence the acrylamide formation by microwave pre-cooking of potato strips prior to frying.

Publishing their work in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, the researches showed that microwave application prior to frying resulted in a marked reduction of the acrylamide level in the surface region. When the potato strips were subjected to frying after a microwave pre-cooking step, acrylamide content in the whole potato strip was reduced by 36%, 41% and 60% for frying at 150, 170 and 190oC respectively.

“Microwaving French fries before cooking takes little time and in fact, microwave pre-cooked samples fried to the same degree of cooking appeared to have a more acceptable colour, probably due to the more gentle heat treatment they experienced during frying,” says lead author Koray Palazoglu, of the University of Mersin, Turkey.

From John Wiley & Sons

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