The Advantages of Air Frying
So for many of us, the major benefit of air fryers is their apparent health benefits as they require little, or no fat, compared to regular deep fat fryers. It’s a huge advantage.
What’s not to like about that?
However, there are other advantages to only needing a small amount of oil to fry your food. Older style oil deep fat fryers can be dangerous as many are not enclosed but open. It is relatively easy (and not uncommon) for hot oil to either splash up and burn the cook, or for the appliance to get knocked and hot oil to spill out.
There is also a risk of fire with the old-style oil fryer. It may be an urban myth, but as a kid I was always told that many house fires had started in a kitchen with an unwatched chip pan.
In contrast, an air fryer is compact and self-contained. The ‘frying’ process happens in a sealed chamber inside the appliance, which means that the cook can’t get burnt by stray splashes of scalding fat and, consequently, a fire is far less likely.
Having a closed appliance rather than an open fryer also means that cooking smells are more contained. My first part-time job was cooking hot chips in a cafe and I can tell you that getting the stink of chip fat out of your clothes and hair at the end of shift isn’t easy and the odour isn’t pleasant!
I understand that the average home kitchen isn’t knocking out fried potatoes on the same scale as a cafe, but the smell of fried food can still linger unpleasantly. Keeping those aromas locked in is a bonus.
Similarly, an air fryer is cleaner and more hygienic than traditional fryers because it is sealed. The frying chamber (whether it be a bucket which slots into the main body of the device or a basket rotating within an oven) is enclosed and not open. This means that random items, dust and dirt cannot fall into the oil in the frying basket.
The old image of the deep-fat fryer sitting on the benchtop, its basket ringed with congealed fat, collecting dust as it waits for its next use, is hopefully long gone.
Air Fryers are evolving quickly
Many hours and millions of dollars of research and development (R&D) have also gone into developing the latest models of air fryers. They are considerably more sophisticated machines compared to the first models released a decade ago.
The industry has come a long way in a short time, as air fryers have moved from being a niche, unheralded cooking device made only by a few manufacturers, to the ‘must have’ kitchen appliance of the 2020’s.
New air fryer models are precision cooking appliances with exact temperature control and accurate timers which take the guesswork out of cooking. The days of dropping a piece of bread into a deep fat fryer to see if the oil is up to frying temperature are long gone. Now you can make complicated meals at the touch of a button.
Indeed, many of the current generation of air fryers have advanced technology that responds to what is happening inside the cooking chamber and adjusts either the temperature of the food or the cooking time (or both) to give you perfect results.
Some models take this technology a logical step further and feature fully programmed control panels which take the guesswork out of making some of the most commonly cooked foods.
Just as many microwave ovens have stylized pictures of chickens and pies on their interfaces, indicating that you can cook these items to perfection merely by pressing the right button, the same goes for modern air fryers.
If you wish to serve your family hot chips for dinner, you select the button which is pre-set for chips and the machine will click into action, cooking your potatoes at the ideal temperature for the recommended time. Not only does this guarantee that items are cooked correctly, but it means that you don’t have to waste time hunting for cooking times and temperatures nor fiddling around programming the appliance. It’s a win/win.
It’s also worth mentioning that these nifty gadgets not only contain plenty of smart technology, but are also rather smart looking. Product designers know that if you’re going to have a piece of cooking equipment sitting on your countertop in full view of guests, the chances are that you’ll require it to look good. Enter the sleek, modern air fryer with its curved lines and discrete control panels.
No longer is the air fryer a guilty secret, clunky and style-less, and hidden away in a kitchen cupboard. The new generation of air fryers are suitable for prominent display, and (…if they were not inanimate objects incapable of thought and feeling…) would sit proud and confident in their ability to cook delicious, healthy meals whilst looking sleek and desirable 😉