Things You Should Know Before Buying An Air Fryer – In Case You Still Don’t Have One
Many are fond of fried foods especially those that are deep fried in oil such as French fries, onion rings, fried chicken and a lot more. The problem is that you always feel guilty with these kinds of foods when you think about your health. And with this ever-changing world of ours, Air Fryers were invented and come in handy. But it went a while before it became a craze that everyone is buzzing around and crowding the appliance store to buy one. Air fryers are the health friendly appliance not only for deep fried foods but for a lot of different recipes from vegetables, to pastries and to those oil thirsty meats.
It’s been a while now since the Air Fryer craze started but there are still people who didn’t catch the craze bus and remained deep frying the conventional way. If you are one of those few relaxed individuals but now is thinking to try and have one, this article is for you.
Read through below for things you should know before buying an Air Fryer, in case you still don’t have one.
Know the type of Air Fryer that fits your cooking style and your counter space, yes space!
There are many Air Fryer types in the market, depending on your preferred look, style, size or functions. But mostly it boils down to two types: convection oven and basket Air Fryer. The first one is more like a toaster or mini oven while the latter is a basket type that uses a drawer-like compartment to cook food. They do not only differ in looks and size but also functionality. Convection oven type has more functionality like broiling, toasting and roasting but it is more likely to be bigger. Since a basket type Air Fryer is usually big in size, imagine what will be for the convection oven type. So, make sure to look at the size of what will you be buying and consider the space you have in your counter. In addition, Air Fryer relies on good circulation of air for cooking thus you nee to allow at least 5 inches clearance on all sides while cooking for proper air flow. Also, make sure that it is sitting a heat-proof surface.
You will be flexing your arms for flipping!
Using an Air Fryer for cooking will not be easy in terms of cooking evenly. Most of the times the top of the food easily becomes crispy while the other side is still soggy. You need to flip the food halfway through to make the bottom crispy as well. For small foods like French fries or small roasted veggies you need to shake halfway through (for basket type Air Fryer).
You’ll be asking often: “Is it done?”
In relation to item 2, the moment you flip the food halfway through, that is also the time you need to check if the food you are cooking is done. Because using an Air Fryer is like that. Even though cook books tells you there’s a specific minute of cooking, that is not the case with Air Fryer in reality. Even for a convection oven type of Air Fryer where there is a window glass to see, you can’t really check if the food is cooked. Many time you need to open the Air Fryer door or the pull the basket letting out the precious heat just to see the status of your food.
Be aware of the number of servings (Cook one at a time, no overcrowding)
Although Air Fryer is usually large in size, the space for cooking food is quite a challenge. Take into consideration that cooking in an Air Fryer will be by batch due to the following reasons: the cooking space is limited (in almost any Air Fryer types), you can’t overcrowd your Air Fryer basket because the air will not circulate properly giving you a poor cooking result, for larger foods especially meat like steak, burger, pork chops and the likes need to be cooked in a single layer, and lastly you can’t cook vegetables and meat at the same time thus requiring you to cook in batches.
Oil is still necessary!
Common misconception about Air Fryer is that oil will not be needed while cooking. It is true that Air Fryer is a healthy cooking companion but that does not mean there will be no oil involved. Olive oil is still necessary while cooking. Most recipes using Air Fryer need to drizzle olive oil to achieve the crispiness you expect. But note that it will only be less oil than the traditional way of cooking.
Things will get messy
Another thing to know is that every after cooking, your Air Fryer will be messy especially when cooking meats as the natural oil from the food will drip out while air frying. The workaround is to use foil or parchment paper to make cleanup easier. For messy items like chicken wings coated with special sticky sauces, better to place them on a sheet of foil or parchment paper before cooking. Just note that the air inside can cause the sheets to fly around so make sure that the food you are cooking is heavy enough to keep the sheets in place.
Make pan sauces and gravies
Items 1 to 6 might sound discouraging but consider it as a heads-up. And now let’s look at the secret wonders of Air Fryer. I mentioned that the natural oil from the food will drip out while cooking, you can utilize those to make pan sauces and gravies. Those bacon fat that’s in the pan is perfectly useable and filled with flavor.
Reheating leftover vegies, pizza and many other foods will be perfect using an Air Fryer. You’ll have a crispier and tastier leftover you’ve never tasted before. Just set the temperature to lower-than-usual about 350F so Air Fryer heats up the food without over-cooking it. Air Fryer’s hot circulating air is also perfect to quickly toast a batch of nuts, try it to see the magic.
Baking will be more fun!
And who said baking is for oven only? Air Fryer can do that also! Don’t limit the powers of Air Fryer to savory things, as you can also bake cakes, brownies, and doughnuts for your dessert in there.
These things are not to discourage you from owning an Air Fryer, rather it’s an advance overview for you to prepare and limit your expectations. After all, Air Fryer really is a healthy appliance companion not only for deep fried foods but to any foods you’ll think of. Just put your cooking imagination hat, and there will be endless benefit in using Air Fryers.