Air fryers are one of the more recent kitchen trends, or fads, to have hit the market. They followed hot on the heels of the huge success of the Instant Pot, but are used for a very different purpose.
Whereas the Instant Pot promised to make meals in a fraction of the normal time, the air fryer’s selling point was that it could make fried food more healthily.
If you were looking at how to start losing weight, you probably wouldn’t look at a device with the word ‘fryer’ in the name. Would you? Well, perhaps you should.
Here are some of the benefits of using an air fryer, and a look at whether it really is all it says it is.
Why would you want an air fryer?
The simple truth is, fried food tastes good and this is why so much of it is consumed across the globe. The United States alone consumes around 8 or 9 billion chickens a year. Although this will be prepared and eaten in a variety of ways, a considerable amount will have been fried.
Sadly, there are many dangerous side effects to eating fried food, and health professionals advise that everyone should limit their intake. Consuming too much fried food can lead to diabetes, stroke, and heart disease, amongst many other health problems.
So, anyone wanting to still enjoy the taste of fried food but without some of the dangers involved with it, an air fryer might make sense.
It is a safer way to cook than deep-frying
Over in the United Kingdom, they love to eat chips. Many other countries know these tasty fried potato snacks as French fries. Unfortunately, chip pans cause around 12,000 fires a year in the UK, injuring over 4,500 people, and resulting in the death of 50 more.
Deep fat frying is dangerous, as is shallow frying to some degree, as it uses flammable oil. Air fryers offer a far safer solution when it comes to making chips, or French fries.
Air fryers are good for the environment
While an air fryer itself is not helping the environment as such, it does reduce the need for oil, and for disposing of it.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s website reports that more than 2 million gallons of used cooking oil get disposed of each year, incorrectly.
Cooking oil when disposed of improperly can lead to an environmental hazard. It causes fires on landfills and rubbish dumps, blocks pipes and drains, and increases the chances of pests such as cockroaches and rats.
Air fryers help reduce bad fats and chemicals
When you are wondering how to choose healthy food for your diet, you are unlikely to select something fried. Fried food can be heavy with unstable oils, trans fats, and chemicals such as acrylamide, which is produced at high temperatures.
Air fryers don’t usually need any oil at all, or only a little, so your calorie intake will be reduced, and you will eat less trans fats.
They aren’t just for cooking chicken and French fries either. They can turn out lean meats and vegetables very well.
Less mess and clutter
Because there is less or no oil used, there is far less mess in the kitchen. You won’t have a grease-covered cooker or oil-splattered surfaces. They are designed to be cleaned easily, and many have a front-loading drawer with a basket for easy removal.
They also take up a minimal amount of area, although this is one of their downsides too. Air fryers are worktop mounted, so this means a certain amount of workspace will be lost to their footprint.
The bigger your family, the bigger the air fryer, and the more space it will take up. One or two people could probably get by with a 2-quart appliance, but a bigger family might want to look at the Ultrean Air Fryer which comes in at over 4 quarts.
What disadvantages do air fryers have?
Apart from their footprint, there are a few other areas to be aware of. While they do indeed produce crispy, fried food without the grease, they are lacking in some other departments.
They will need to be cooled down before you can store them, so if space is limited, this could be a drawback. But, the biggest gripe may be the size of the appliance. Many models cannot cope with some food items, and you may also find you have to cook some meals in batches.
Apart from some minor niggles, air fryers do appear to have a lot of benefits. They present a healthier way to cook fried-style food at home. This removes the need to spend money on unhealthy takeaway such as fried chicken.
The minimal use of oil is an advantage too. Firstly, you will save money on cooking oil, and secondly, you won’t be harming the environment with your waste.
Whether an air fryer suits your style of cooking is up to you, but there are some benefits here to consider when looking for a new kitchen gadget.