From cassava to sweet potatoes, various types of vegetables are processed to make one mixed bag of vegetable chips. Mainly consisting root vegetables like taro and parsnip, vegetable chips are often introduced as a healthy alternative to potato chips. To make these chips, you first need to slice the vegetables and cook them depending on your product; you can simply bake them or fry them, deep fry them, or dry them. After this process, flavorings are added to the chips.
Which vegetable chips equipment do you need?
Bagger with rotary jaw drive actuation
Industrial drying cabinet
Industrial dehydration machine
Pilot scale freeze dryer
Industrial food freeze dryer
Automatic freeze drying system
Entry-level high volume package seal tester
Industrial potato washer
Leak tester for pouches and MAP packaging
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Making vegetable chips is quite similar to making potato chips. First, those vegetables need to be washed in a drum washer and dried off. Then, their skin is removed in a peeler and sliced in a vegetable cutter – a rotary continuous cutting device is often chosen for vegetable chips. At this point, the production line is a bit different from potato chips as the vegetables will not be soaked in the water like the potato chips. Root vegetables like beet and carrots contain relatively less amount of scratch, and they do not need an additional process to remove the starch like potatoes.
After the raw vegetables are all prepared to be cooked, you can choose your method of cooking among frying, baking, or dehydrating (drying). For frying, the most common choice of technology is the vacuum fryer, and for baking, it is a convection oven. For dehydrating or drying, producers often choose drying cabinets or triple-pass dryers. Still, the vacuum fryer method is the most popular choice for manufacturing veggie chips since it can recreate the crunchiness of potato chips. If you baked or fried the veggie chips, you also need to cool them in the air dryer or air cooling machine.
You can always add flavorings such as seasoning, herbs, spices, cheeses, and artificial additives to the cooked chips. This can be done in the drum coaster, where the cylinder drum is circulated continuously, mixing the materials thoroughly without any residue. Finally, these chips are ready to be packed in bags and pouches through the bagging machine.
Frying, baking, or drying, that is the question!
Among the three cooking methods – frying, baking, and drying – frying through a vacuum fryer are most commonly adopted. Vacuum fryer technology is a relatively new technology that developed a new way of frying at low pressure and temperature. Hence, compared to atmospheric deep frying, vacuum frying can enhance the color, taste, and general quality. It can also absorb less amount of oil compared to the traditional frying method, allowing them to be a healthier processing method.
As an alternative to vacuum frying, producers can also choose to bake the veggie chips. A convection oven can draw the moisture out of the vegetables in the most efficient way. By controlling the airspeed, you can ultimately control the color of the chips and the baking process – the higher the airspeed is, the faster the moisture can leave the vegetable. However, using a convection oven can be quite tricky. Since the vegetable chips are thin, the baking time has to be really short in the oven – even under one minute. Also, the moisture has to be drawn out evenly without burning the chips. Hence, this manual control factor can act both as an advantage and a drawback.
Lastly, you can also dry the vegetable if you are intending to produce the most “healthy” and least fatty chips. A dehumidification cabinet, or drying cabinet, can be used for this process. In the cabinet, heated air flow constantly circulates through the space, which can evenly dry the vegetables inside. This method can preserve the vitamins and taste of the vegetables, even if the crunchy mouthfeel might not be present in these chips. Another equipment option for drying is triple-pass driers. This machine particularly specializes in drying thin slices of vegetables, as it moves the chips around many times from one belt to another to achieve even color and drying.
Making a healthy and delicious veggie chip – lower the temperature!
Generally, the goal of making veggie chips is to make a healthy alternative to potato chips. Hence, the prioritized factor in producing veggie chips is making them as healthy and delicious as possible. By adjusting the frying temperature of your chips, you can reduce the risk of causing cancer; lowering the frying or baking temperature can decrease the formation of acrylamide, which can cause cancer when one continuously consumes a large amount of it. Also, as a side benefit, this lowering of temperature can improve the color of the chips, making them look more appetizing.