French Fries and dessicants

When you buy an order of French Fries to go from a restaurant, they usually get all soggy before you get home. The reason for this is obvious: the steam that rises off the hot fries is trapped within the container, gets re-absorbed by the fries, no more crunch.

When you buy certain medicines, or maybe a pair of shoes, they might contain a small tablet or pouch labeled “dessicant” which I take to mean is meant to absorb ambient moisture so that the contents don’t rot.

A thought: If a few of those dessicant tablets were placed in a wrapped order-to-go of French Fries, could those absorb the moisture and let you eat crispy fries when you get home?

There’s an incredibly tiny amount of water vapor in a medicine bottle, or in the ambient air trapped within a show box. By comparison, tying to remove the soggy air from the fries with a desiccant would be like dehumidifying your house with a sponge.

That and isn’t that stuff toxic?

Well, obviously I’d use more of it than is in the medicine bottle. Like, say the French Fries are packaged in a polysterene clamshell-type container, the entire top of the container could be lined with that material.

Maybe that wouldn’t be enough to absorb, in which case, my question is answered.

Toxicity would certainly be a downer.

Only if you eat it. They use silica gel.

When you get home put them in a 400[sup]o[/sup]F oven for a few minutes to dry them out a re-crisp them a bit. Still not as good as fresh from the fryer but next best thing.

As a matter of fact, that is what I usually do. I was just bouncing a technnical idea off you guys, but I do know how to deal with sogginess as a practical matter.

Then why would they put it in with medicines?

I did assume you meant more than one, but why would any restaurant pay a really significant amount of money for you to take home a few french fries? An entire top of silica gel would certainly cost hugely more than the clamshell container.

And I still don’t think it would work worth a damn, just as lining a wall in your house with sponges wouldn’t work either.

It’s not so obvious to me. Do you really think lukewarm dessicated fries would be better than lukewarm soggy fries?

Even if that were the case, I think it would be simpler to design a container that allows the moisture to escape.

There are several different problems that all conspire to make this unworkable they are;

-The amount of water vapour released by a portion of steaming fries is considerable
-Dessicants (esp silica gel) typically expand as they take on water
-The rate at which dessicants can absorb water is limited.

So, I think most dessicants would be simply unable to absorb the water vapour fast enough to prevent the fries going soggy, but if they did, a small sachet might burst open from expansion (unless it was designed with slack, in which case the contents would still swell, perhaps turning from hard crystals into an unappealing gelatinous mass). Large sachets would work better, but would be more costly.

I read this and thought you were talking about the silica gel packets. :smack:

And of course the obvious answer that demand is not urgent enough; after all, you still eat the fries when you get them home, don’t you?

I guess their is a reason for super salty fries. Salt is a dessicant, so maybe those over salted fries don’t get as soggy. You know the ones, that you have to wipe off salt to eat.

Actually you **can ** do it with the silica gel to dry it out but I don’t know what temperature. Silica gel is also used for drying flowers, and you can reuse it after heating to dry.

Well, I would think that if you used it for fries, you’d have a chance of it contaminating the fries. At the very least, you’d get a nasty aftertaste.

Exapno, thanks for the prices…that would certainly be expensive packaging.

And scr4, absolutely. Crunchy beats soggy any day.