You have probably heard about the craze surrounding the healthy cooking air fryers in recent years. These kitchen appliances which claim to use up to 70-80% less fat for making French fries as compared to deep fryers are becoming growingly popular. The main reasons include their ability to cook with no or with very little oil or fat, as well as their ease of use, their compact footprint, and their versatility as kitchen appliances which can fry, roast, grill, bake, reheat and cook just about any meal faster and healthier.
So what is an air fryer
The original Air fryer was first patented by Phillips more than 10 years ago. Since then a wide variety of types and brands of air fryers have been made and are being offered on the market.
Basically, each one of them uses rapid hot air circulation for the cooking process. The food is placed in a food basket usually made of metal mesh, or on a grill, and is fried or otherwise cooked by the heated air which circulates around it and cooks it quickly and evenly thanks to a high-speed fan inside the unit. The so-called Maillard effect is used for ensuring that if you are making French fries, the outsides become crisp and crunchy and the inside remains succulent and soft without the need to submerge the fries in boiling oil.
The heat produced by air fryers can be adjusted to up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The different cooking modes of these versatile kitchen countertop devices allow for cooking chips, steak, fried fish, hamburgers, grilled foods, pastries and in some cases steamed veggies.
Usually, air fryers have preset modes or programs for each type of food or cooking mode. Their temperature levels and the cooking time can also be adjusted in accordance with the recipe.
Thanks to the popularity of air fryers, there are now numerous helpful air fryer cookbooks and recipes which will allow you to cook anything you want.
Reasons for the growing popularity of air fryers
More people are choosing to replace their traditional ovens, microwaves, toasters, and BBQs with this one single multi-functional device. One reason is that it takes very little space, so it can be used in the tiniest kitchens, in RVs or anywhere else where space is tight. Yet, it can be used instead of all the aforementioned kitchen cooking appliances.
The second reason is the fact that the food is cooked with no or very little fat, so the meals cooked in air fryers are with much fewer calories and Trans fats than those cooked in the traditional manner.
Since more people are looking into ways to improve their diet and eat healthier, they are choosing this healthier cooking method to feed themselves and their families.
By reducing the fat used for frying and cooking, the calories in the meals are reduced, and so is the consumption of the harmful Trans fats. By cutting the calories, people are losing weight which has multiple health benefits, such as the reduced risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes type II, metabolic syndrome, and a number of other serious chronic diseases.
Another reason for the growing popularity of air fryers is the safety of use. They have safety controls which shut them off in case of overheating. They also do not cause splashes and cannot burn you thanks to the fact that the food is enclosed inside the unit. The devices have heat protection of the units and the food basket handles, so you can easily touch them without burning yourself.
Air fryers are also very convenient because of the clean cooking experience they provide. You will not end up with piles of greasy pots, pans and utensils and a grease splattered oven or kitchen counter when you use one of these devices.
The air fryers are very easy to clean, as the food basket is removable and usually dishwasher friendly.
They also eliminate the smell of frying and cooking, which is a benefit that many people find quite appealing, especially those using the device in RVs and in small kitchens or apartments.
These ingenious kitchen appliances are pretty similar to convection ovens, but they are much more compact than them and do not emit so much heat during the cooking process.
Air fryers cook food 20% faster than traditional ovens
The different types of air fryers
There are different types of air fryers. Some of the budget-friendly ones have manual temperature and timer settings and do not have integrated cooking programs. Other more sophisticated ones have digital controls and preset cooking programs, often including French fries, chicken breasts, shrimps, steak, cheeseburgers, fish, pastries, and others. There are even models with rotisseries which you can use to make roasted chicken or skewers.
The different air fryers are different in size too. Some of the smaller units have smaller food baskets and are suitable for cooking for 1 or 2 people, others are medium and can feed a family of four or five, and there are some extra large ones which you can use to feed a larger family or for making dinner party meals for guests.
Overall, air fryers are pretty efficient, multifunctional cooking devices which will save you time for cooking and cleaning, as well as money for oil and electric power, and will help you eat healthier and yet deliciously prepared meals.
They are relatively small and can be used in very small kitchen spaces. They don’t make a mess, they don’t emit too much heat or any smells, and they cook faster than your old oven does.
Plus, instead of oil, your chicken and chips will be fried with air, which means about 70-80% fewer calories in each meal as compared to the deep fried option.
There are different options for air fryers on the market which are suitable for any budget and need. There are simple and cheap ones which are perfect for occasional cooking, and sophisticated, digitalized ones which you can easily use every day instead of all of the other cooking appliances in your home.
So, now that you know what an air fryer is, will you be willing to try one out yourself?