As a family, we love crisps. If there was one thing that used to be consistently on the shopping list it was a big bag of yummy crisps. No surprise, really. The UK is apparently the biggest consumer of crisps. Walkers, the biggest crisp factory, produces 7million packets of crisps EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Apparently, if you carpeted the entire floor space of the Leicester Tigers stadium with potatoes, that’s the amount the Walkers factory gets through every single HOUR. Yes, the UK really does love crisps.
So when we resolved to try and use less plastic, we were gutted to find out that crisp packets were not only non-biodegradable, but also almost impossible to recycle. Earlier this year, a boy on a Cornish beach found a washed-up and perfectly intact 30-year-old Walkers crisp packet which illustrates how little they break down. Ever.
Then there was the recent backlash from eco-friendly crisp lovers when the #PacketInWalkers campaign saw Royal Mail begging for people to stop sending their empty packets back to the Walkers emporium. Walkers stepped in with a new recycling deal with Terracycle, so customers could send the packets off to be recycled. Problem solved? BUT… hang on, didn’t we have a recycling crisis? Even our most valuable and recyclable of plastics PET1 is still getting exported as we can’t seem to cope with the sheer volume of the stuff? Who are these Terracycle people who can ‘recycle the un-recyclable’ when no one else can? How do they make any kind of meaningful profit from the ‘low value’ non-recyclables? Do they actually make their profits from the £230 collection boxes they sell to the willing eco-warriors about town? I don’t know the answer, but I do know that ‘recycling the un-recyclable’ gives the majority of people an excuse to continue consuming guilt-free. Therefore, the companies producing the stuff to have no incentive whatsoever to find a more sustainable alternative. That doesn’t sit well with me.
So I have started to make my own crisps! They are supposed to be a treat, after all. Not a diet staple like they had started to become. So the hassle of making them somewhat deters us from over eating. This can’t be a bad thing either, seeing as the UK is not only a nation of the mega crisp lovers but also has the highest rate of obesity in Western Europe.
We don’t have a fryer, so this is how we made our crisps in the oven.
Our home-made crisps recipe:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius
(We have an electric fan oven. Not sure what the equivalent is for a non-fan oven. It’s usually a bit more. 200? That would be my guess)
2. Peel potatoes
One potato is the equivalent to one small pack of crisps apparently. But since you’re going through the hassle you may as well do a few!
Cut each potato in half and use a speed peeler or the slicer bit of a cheese grater to create super thin slices of potato. This is the most time consuming bit.
OR, use the slicer on a food processor. Like the one that had been sitting in our cupboard, looking sad for about 5 years, until it was recently rediscovered. Crisp-making game changer. One potato perfectly sliced in approximately half a second! (I’m still in shock)
Put the slices in a big bowl. Add water and shake around to rinse off the starch. Pour the water out and fill with fresh water, shake around and rinse off again. And then again for a third time.
Lay out on a clean tea towel. Pat dry with another clean tea towel.
6. Oil and salt
Put back into a clean bowl, add a lug of vegetable oil and toss the slices around in it so they are all covered. Sprinkle a generous pinch of salt in too.
7. Lay on baking tray
Lay each slice on the baking tray without any overlapping
Bake in the oven until they look like crisps. Roughly 20 min but keep checking as it depends on the thickness of the slices
Haven’t mastered different flavours yet, but they are delicious just with some salt
10. Stuff your face
Et Voilà. Crisps. Without plastic.
If you enjoyed this article please like, comment or share. Thank you for taking the time to read my unplasticky ramblings.
You can also follow my page ‘Unplasticky’ on Facebook.