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July 27, 2010 / Dave Gorham

Germany: Fries Shrink in Heat

If you were to ask most girls what their favorite snack was they’d probably say anything chocolate or perhaps ice cream. Well that’s not the case with me, even though I do enjoy homemade vanilla ice cream and a Snickers bar every now and then. I’d have to say my biggest food weakness is most definitely french fries. Yes I realize how fattening and greasy they are, but everything in moderation is okay, right?

Image: BBC

In Germany this year, fries (or chips as Germans say) could be significantly shorter this year due to the ongoing heat wave across Germany, as well as much of Europe. With the shorter fries does this mean they will have half the calories? Hum…probably not–it just means you have to eat more. Typically fries are made from large potatoes that average about 2.2 inches (55mm) in length. Since the crop isn’t going to be as large in terms of the size of the potato, fries will be about a half of an inch shorter at 1.8 inches (45mm).

Right now farmers expect to produce up to 30% less of the larger potato varieties than in an average year as the crop just isn’t growing as it normally would because of the excessive heat. Germany produces 11 million metric tons of potatoes a year, about 10% of which are turned into french fries. Not only is there a shortage this year of the larger potatoes used to make fries, but the price for potatoes is also expected to go up.

Did you know the potato arrived in Germany in 1588 and was only considered suitable for livestock and prisoners? In 1744, Frederick the Great of Prussia ordered peasants to plant potatoes in order to save them from famine. He distributed the potatoes and instructions for planting them to individuals, and threatened to cut off the nose of anyone who disobeyed.


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  1. Dave Gorham / Jul 27 2010 2:21 PM

    I’m with you, Lauren – fries are definitely a weakness of mine, too! Having visited Germany, I know the Germans call fries pommes-frites, but I didn’t know they call potatoes just 2.2in in length “large”! They obviously haven’t seen the baked potato at Kelley’s here in Houston…their baked potato is every bit of 10-11 inches!

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