Crisps & spuds
Click below to read a summary of the Crisps & spuds project ideas for Bronze, Silver, and Gold awards; or to go back to project ideas click here.
Find out which crisps are crispiest and what makes them un-crisp
For this project you will carry out a number of experiments on crisps. You should start by selecting which crisps you want to test. You should try to get different sorts of crisp. For example, some crisps are made from peeled potatoes, others still have their skins. Some crisps are ‘hand cooked in sunflower oil’. Some crisps come in ‘foil fresh’ bags. Some crisps are crinkle cut. There are also lots of different brands. Try to get as wide a variety as possible. Find out what conditions are suggested for storing your crisps (these are usually given on the side of the packet). Try to get packets that have the same sell-by-date, so your tests are fair.
Investigate the fat and salt content of different crisps
You should start this project with some research. You should find out about the various different types of crisps that are available. For example, different brands, whether they’re peeled or unpeeled, cooked in sunflower oil, low-fat, low-salt etc. Ask people which they buy, and ask for their reasons. Find out what saturated and unsaturated fat means. You could visit the Food Standards Agency website (www.foodstandards.gov.uk) to find out just how low in fat something has to be before it can claim to be low-fat on its label. At the end of this investigation you should suggest which type of crisps should be used by a coronary heart disease patient. Therefore, before you start any tests, you should research the disease. Find out about the affects of high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and what in turn can cause these symptoms.
Investigate potatoes and starch
Potatoes contain starch; the amount of starch in a potato affects what it’s used for in terms of cooking and food preparation. You should begin this project by finding out how the starch content of foodstuffs affects cooking and food preparation. Which varieties of potatoes are used to prepare certain food products, and why? You could link up with someone from the agricultural industry to find out what sorts of potatoes they grow and what they’re used for. Food manufacturers may also be able to provide you with information. Select some spuds to test. Try to pick as wide a selection of varieties as possible; for example, new potatoes, white potatoes, red potatoes and baking potatoes. You could also try pre-prepared potatoes, such as chips.