My family and I have a weakness for fried food. As a result of this weakness, we have had to consider some alternative options to get satisfaction.
With deep fat fryers being a high contributor to heart disease and type 2 diabetes, please review your health.
When we first discovered the air fryer, it seemed to be an answer all our prayers on the matter. While not dousing our chicken in fatty oils changes the flavour a bit, the health trade-off heavily outweighs the loss.
Also, replacing the lack of fat with seasonings provides an adequate substitute. However, before making any purchase, it is best to understand what you are getting.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is an Air Fryer?
- 2 How Can I Use an Air Fryer?
- 3 What Can I Cook in an Air Fryer?
- 4 Conclusion
What is an Air Fryer?
Similar to a portable heater, an air fryer uses convection heating to circulate air throughout the entirety of the machine. The hot air is blown directly onto the foo, heating the outside at a higher rate than the inside. As a result of this method, you get a crispy, browning effect. Instead of oil being the conduit, the air is.
Are There Different Types of Air Fryers?
While all air fryers follow the convection system, the different types of fryers fall into the categories considered below.
- Basket air fryers
- Convection ovens
- Self-tending fryers
Basket Air Fryer
The most common air fryer is the basket type air fryer. The basket resembles what you would expect out of a deep-fat fryer, but without the oil. The pan below is to collect the grease residue from the item you are cooking. These tend to be on the countertop, much like a microwave oven.
A convection oven’s significant difference is in lacking the basket. As a result, these have more room to insert multiple layers. These can also vary more in size due to them being closer to a conventional oven. Also, these are preferred by some due to their ability to save energy over traditional ovens.
Self-tending fryers regularly rotate the food for you. This feature makes allows you to check it with less frequency. These are commonly a feature of convection ovens or basket air fryers. However, given the unique feature of a self-tending unit, these fall into a category of their own.
How Can I Use an Air Fryer?
When you first look at your air fryer, it can be a bit overwhelming. The same can be for any new machine in your house. Of course, it is best to do a skim of the owner’s manual before proceeding. People often toss these aside, but there is still a wealth of information available in these.
Do I Have to Preheat?
The owner’s manual of any fryer will tell you about this in greater detail. However, a standard piece of knowledge with air fryers is that they take a little less time than conventional fryers to heat. It is because the heating element blows the air directly onto the food. In standard fryers, one uses the oil as a flavour and heat conduit, causing for a slower process.
What are Some Air Fryer Safety Tips?
The most important tip to keep in mind is to respect the space limit. If an air fryer only has room for 30 fries, you are only going to be putting 30 chips in here. By trying to push it over the limit, you risk leaving portions of your food undercooked. Without a significant amount of room to circulate the air through, the air fryer will be unable to do its job effectively.
Even if the air fryer has a self-tending feature, it is still essential to check on the food. It is doubly important for those who are not in constant movement. By not rotating the food every once and a while, you may overcook a portion of the food. By being aware of the position of the fans, you will also be better equipped to address overcooking issues.
Finally, make sure that you keep the machine clean and dry. You may spray the food with a bit of cooking spray to keep the food moist. Be sure that you keep everything else in good order. Failure to perform regular cleanings will result in fires.
Other Important Things to Keep in Mind
An air fryer tends to heat food faster than one would expect. You may want to keep a close eye on it for the first couple of times, just to get used to the fryer. Once you are more comfortable, feel free to leave it as is, only to check it to ensure that the food is evenly cooking.
Also, first-time users will want to follow established recipes to get things to start. Of course, be sure that the shared method has the same temperature and size limitations. You would not want to bend the safety requirements of your fryer to follow a recipe too carefully.
Finally, many fryers come with pre-built programs. These programs tend to be for cooking certain items. These could include things like chicken, fries, or cookies. Be sure to consult your owner’s manual on the specifics of these programs. Do not assume based on your expectations of the program.
What Can I Cook in an Air Fryer?
Air fryers can cook anything that you would put in a conventional fryer. However, a good starting point for people who are unfamiliar with air fryers is chicken. Fried chicken is a bit of a staple in our household, and upon trying out the air fried chicken the first time, it is a reliable replacement. With some practice, we were able to replace our regular frier.
With oil-based frying, much of the flavour comes from the oil. As a result, you generally do not have to think too hard when it comes to seasoning. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. But be aware of the flavour profile you are going for as you are cooking.
What If I Have Dietary Restrictions?
Being aware of those restrictions when it comes to using an air fryer will be crucial. Given that we have already displayed the health benefits of this, air frying will quickly improve what you have been doing. Let us look more in-depth at a couple of examples.
For those who have high cholesterol, fatty oils are something that you need to avoid. If you still love fried foods, air fryers are an excellent investment in your health. You may be able to put a spin on vegetable-based dishes.
For those who are into keto diets, you are going to want to look for seafood, fish, meat, poultry, and eggs. Many of these items can easily transition over to getting your body to ketosis. Be sure to consult a health professional for further details.
Vegans can put almost all their items into the fryer. I have seen vegans make cauliflower look, and taste, like buffalo wings. With a creative mind, you can put almost anything into this convection-style cooker.
Air fryers are an excellent investment for those who are health-conscious consumers who happen to have a weakness for fried food. By being aware of the convection-based technology used to cook food and the many programs that they offer, you will have a firm understanding of where to start.
Start with practice and researching recipes with respect for the limitations of your dietary preferences. The air fryer has something for everyone. Once you cook enough recipes in this, you will be able to cook something that outperforms food from a regular fryer confidently.