By Shakera Williams, MPH, FCS Nutrition Agent
We have officially entered the season of gift giving and receiving. Air-fryers make great gifts that will benefit the entire family. An air-fryer is a countertop appliance designed to simulate deep frying without submerging the food in oil. It operates like a small convection oven, circulating hot air to cook and brown the food. The best benefit of having an air-fryer is that it gives food a satisfying taste with less fat. Air-fryers are also easy to clean, energy efficient, and they can fit into any kitchen. If you will be purchasing an air-fryer for yourself or for a loved one for the holiday, consider the following information below before purchasing.
- Size: Make sure you have the storage or counter space in your kitchen for the size air- fryer you choose.
- Budget: Think about how much you are willing to spend on this appliance. Air-fryers can range from $50 to several hundred dollars.
- Capacity: Air-fryers range from two to seven quarts. For a one or two-person household, a lower-capacity fryer would be suitable. A larger family may want to consider a higher capacity fryer.
- Features: Air-fryers come with many features and pre-sets. Think about which features you need or want.
- Warranty: Consumers should check air-fryer models to determine the warranty for various products.
Here are some helpful tips that will come in handy when using your new air-fryer
Tip # 1: Allow 5 inches behind the air-fryer to increase air flow while in use.
Tip # 2: Preheat the air-fryer before cooking to make sure the food cooks evenly.
Tip # 3: Always use a kitchen thermometer to check the doneness of foods. Refer to your manual for the most accurate cooking temperatures for individual food items.
Tip # 4: Do not overfill the basket. Overfilling the basket will cause food to cook unevenly.
Tip # 5: Add water or a slice of bread to the drawer of the air-fryer to prevent smoking while cooking certain foods.
Tip # 6: Use your air-fryer to reheat leftover foods like pizza.
Tip # 7: Be sure to clean your air-fryer after each use, and deep clean your machine at least once a month for best upkeep.
Tip # 8: Flip foods or shake the air-fryer basket halfway through the cooking time. By flipping or shaking your food will allow it to become more evenly colored and crispier all over.
(Shakera Williams is Assistant FCS Nutrition Extension Agent – General & SNAP- ED.)
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