Air Frying: Juicy Meets Crunchy
Air fryers have been increasingly trending and selling for the past couple years and for good reason. They’re a new way to cook old favorites with unprecedented speed, safety, and convenience. Now, when a fried craving hits, you can make it healthier and still delicious - right in your oven.
Air fryers don’t actually fry food. They can serve as a substitute for frying, sautéing, baking or grilling. Think of them as an enhanced convection oven. They superheat the air, producing natural convection currents that are then circulated by fans. Perforated cooking baskets allow that air to flow freely around the food. Get all the flavor, eat healthier, and ensure the capacity to feed everyone with oven air frying.
So, in effect, your food is bathed in hot air instead of hot oil. You get crispiness without the grease. There’s less mess, less heat radiated into the kitchen, and less time spent preparing meals. Juicy meets crunchy!
Air fryers also are helpful for healthy cooking. The reason is simple. Hot air is healthier than hot oil, and air-fried foods tend to contain smaller amounts of harmful trans fats and hydrogenated oils as they deliver fast, flavorful, consistent results.
For instance, deep-fried frozen French fries can contain 17 grams of fat per serving. An air fryer can produce the same savory serving with only 4 to 6 grams of fat. Similar results can be expected with other deep-fried favorites such as chicken wings. (Frigidaire says its new air fry ranges can cook up two pounds of that favorite with only two tablespoons of oil, instead of as much as six cups.)
Air fryers work great with nearly anything the creative chef can cook up, including fresh or frozen beef, chicken, fish, vegetables and prepared dishes like au gratins. Nearly any ovenproof dish will work, too, including glass, ceramic and metal trays and pans.
Air fryers are no more complicated to use than using traditional frying and baking appliances. They also offer multiple choices in size, shape and functionality. Some simply air fry, while others add the ability to roast, toast and even dehydrate.
Surging Sales, Super Easy
Air fryer sales are surging. Market research firm NPD Group says nearly 10 million counter-top versions were sold in the United States between May 2017 and March 2019, with a 69% increase recorded in 2018 alone.
No need to clutter your counter as multiple manufacturers make air fryers, including such quality brands as Haier, Samsung and GE are now including air frying functions in their wall ovens, and Frigidaire has introduced its Air Fry Collection, the industry’s first line of gas, electric and induction free standing and slide-in ranges to feature an air fryer built into the oven.
The instructions for using the Frigidaire units — which can be programmed to cook from 170 to 550 degrees — reflect the simplicity inherent with all quality air fryer ovens: arrange the food on the rack as suggested, then enter a cooking temperature if you don’t want to use the default temperature offered in the prompt, and press start. Then, when the pre-heat tone sounds, change the baking sheet’s position on the rack, set a timer to the recommended time, and you’ll have a delicious plate of air-fried food in a few minutes.
Help for the Holidays and Beyond
The ability to produce the irresistible appeal of fried foods make baking and cooking more fun and healthy and the holidays are a great time to put on display the prowess and versatility of a quality air fryer. First up, of course, is Thanksgiving. How about cooking a large turkey breast in about an hour? Here’s an easy recipe for that staple. Vegetables and fruit also cook up well in an air fryer. For a nice side dish, there’s this recipe for acorn squash stuffed with apples, cranberries and sausage.
Here are some more recipes to consider adding to your holiday lineup …
- Rosemary Potato Wedges
- Sweet and Spicy Meatballs
- Green Bean Casserole
- Garlic Rosemary Brussel Sprouts
- Mini Pecan Pie