Welcome to 30 Days, 30 Ways to Green, where we're sharing all the little (and not so little!) things we do to live eco-friendlier every day. Stick with us all month long for a lineup of handy tips—from composting do's and don'ts to which reusable products really light up our lives.
I have a lifelong devotion to snacking that "some" would say borders on obsession. (To which I'd reply: Stop hovering over my shoulder as I taste-test various cheesy crackers.)
So when we asked our 25,000 Cookbook Club members for their eco-friendliest kitchen tips a few weeks back, one suggestion in particular caught my eye. It came from Nancy Sobel Butcher, who wrote:
I just peel my potato in pretty large strips, let dry a little if wet, moisten with a bit of olive or avocado oil, salt and pepper, and bake.
It sounded too good to be true: baked potato chips that take less than 20 minutes and use barely any oil? I had to try it for myself.
Not only does the basic method work—letting potato peel scraps air dry, tossing them with oil and seasonings, and baking them until crispy—but it yields some of the lightest, most snack-able specimens I've produced in my kitchen. And all with minimal mess.
After testing it at various oven temperatures and with all sorts of seasonings and potatoes (waxy! starchy! small!), here's the "recipe" I've settled on:
- Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- After peeling potatoes for another use, let the peels sit out at least 20 minutes until no longer glistening, or up to a few hours—the drier, the better. (You can also pat them with a kitchen towel to aid drying.) Length and width of the peels doesn't matter; longer strips crisp up just as well as shorter, blunter ones.
- Toss the peels with a high heat–friendly oil (like avocado oil), plus your favorite seasonings. Simple salt and pepper is delicious, as is onion powder and salt, or garlic-salt and cayenne pepper.
- Bake for about 9 to 15 minutes, keeping an eye on them. They'll get nice and crispy, and you'll know they're ready when little bubbles start popping up on their surfaces. Note that depending on the size of the strips and how long you've let them dry, they might take more or less time, and you should feel free to adjust oven temp as needed. (Nancy's original method is baking her peels at 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 5 to 8 minutes—for fresher peels, I found the higher starting temperature works best.) You can always take one out to taste if you're not sure whether it's crispy all the way through.
And that's it! Eat plain, or serve with dip. Sharing is completely optional.