I recently received the new McCain Ready Baked Jackets to review and must confess to being somewhat sceptical. The questions that I immediately found myself asking were, “Do we really need frozen jacket potatoes in this world?” and “Who would pay an inflated price for microwave jacket potatoes when you can cook normal potatoes in the microwave anyway?”
This is the first obstacle that I needed to overcome because Tesco for example sells 2.5 kg of Kent jacket potatoes for around £2.25 whereas the McCain frozen ones are £2.50 for four potatoes so they are expensive in the comparison. Upon opening the packaging the value for money point is further hammered home as the size of the McCain frozen potatoes is significantly smaller in comparison to what you would find in a traditional bag of spuds.
However, we are living in an age of convenience and I must admit that the thought of waiting a few hours for a jacket potato to cook is enough to ensure that the only time I get to eat one is when I'm out and about, which means that I purchase from a man in a van.
This is the big selling point of McCain’s product, because you can put one in your microwave for 5 minutes, which is just long enough to grate some cheese, open a can of tuna and tub of butter before tucking into a jacket potato with a tasty filling, making this the perfect comfort food. At this point, I finally understood exactly why these frozen tatties could be quite useful in our hectic modern lives.
If you are sick to the bad teeth of eating the same sandwiches at work each day, it would also offer an alternative that can be simply thrown into a microwave. No scraping or washing the potato either, so if you are short of time then this really could be an option for you.
After 5 minutes in the Microwave, my first opinion was of slight disappointment as the skin just wasn't crispy, which is something that I love about a good old fashioned baked spud, so if this is something you prefer too, then I would recommend opting for the longer 45-55 minutes in the oven method.
I find it quite hard to criticise the taste itself, because potatoes are not known for their killer taste sensation and we all add butter and fillings of our choice for this very reason. It’s worth pointing out to those of you on a health kick that these come in at around 205 calories on their own, so don't go too crazy with the butter.
The potato itself is incredibly white and fluffy and almost mash like which is not a problem for me but they do feel quite dry (before butter added). The good news is there is no hard potato to be found anywhere so that’s one pet hate of mine out of the way.
There’s nothing quite like the smell and taste of a slow oven-baked jacket potato, but the downside is waiting ages for them to cook, so ultimately, if you feel like a pleasant change from sandwiches at work or need a few emergency snacks in your freezer for when you find yourself short on time, then the McCain Ready Baked Jackets will be perfect for you.
Sure if you want the crispy skin to your potato, then you are better waiting for around 45 minutes in the oven, but the biggest negative must be the price. Ultimately we all have a choice on our hands, do we pay £2.25 for a whole bag of potatoes that take several hours to cook, or pay around the same price for a couple of frozen potatoes that take only 5 minutes in the microwave? That’s the trade off on offer here, so for me personally, as an occasional emergency snack, they are perfect but I wouldn't expect these to appear on anyone’s weekly shopping list.