Everyone loves eating fries and meat and all the junk food they can get their hands on, but we cannot always eat them because of the repercussions to our health.
Most fried foods have a lot of fat since frying involves dipping the whole thing into grease or cooking oil.
The high-fat levels in these foods will mess up your heart, so there needs to be a better way to prepare food without using a lot of cooking oil air fryers.
Let us take a closer look at air fryers, their origin, and how they work to see if they will offer a healthy solution;
Who Invented The Air Fryer?
Fred Van der Weij created the fryer technology we use in air fryers, and Philips launched the production in 2010, and the product market snowballed.
Fred came up with the idea from fat-free fryers that existed at the time, and by 2007 he found a way to perfect them and produce air fryers we use today.
How Does An Air Fryer Work?
Many people have air fryers in their homes since it offers quick and healthy food. We love how fast we get the food, but not many people take the time to look into how the machine processes the food.
You must know how it works if you intend to understand why your food cooks so well. Let us get into the details and help you figure this out;
Before going further, remember that the bowl you use on an air fryer is always open at the top, and it fits perfectly into the space.
An air fryer uses electricity to heat the food; the electric current passes through a heater element at the top of the heater, which causes it to radiate heat at a close range, directly above the food.
The heating element is close to the food, and the container is open; thus, the heat will penetrate the food, cooking even under the surface.
Above the heater, there is a large fan above the heating element that will start running when you turn on the fryer.
This large fan will pull the air upwards from the cooking chamber, which creates a strong vertical airflow.
The air passes through the heater, and it will get a lot of heat energy from it; the fan will then push this hot air outwards towards the sides of the cooking chamber.
The whole system has features that prevent air or heat energy loss throughout this process, so most of it goes into your food.
At the bottom, there is a unique starfish-shaped air guide system that will distribute the heat evenly throughout the chamber.
The guide also directs the air vertically back into the food. The food in the chamber will also help distribute the heat over it.
Only the basket’s bottom is open for the air; this design forces the air to pass over the food surface; thus, it heats the food.
This system ensures that the air goes in between your food; thus, heat will get to all parts of the food even if you pile the basket full. The design leads to radiation from the top and convection heat from the bottom.
The simultaneous cooking from all sides eliminates the need to turn the food since they all get a similar amount of heat at any given time.
This system will mimic a deep fryer and give similar results, but you won’t have to use excess oil or grease to get the final product.
The air fryer keeps most of the air inside to cook the food, but the temperature increase will also increase pressure inside the fryer.
If the fryer doesn’t release excess pressure, it would eventually blow up, so it has an exhaust system to prevent this.
The air fryer has an exhaust feature at the top which releases a little air to reduce the pressure; thus, the steam and smoke come out.
The exhaust system has a filtr eto clean the smoke and steam, so it doesn’t harm you. It is always safe to use the air fryer in the right conditions and open space.
Are Air Fryers A Healthy Alternative?
We all love fried foods, and it is a part of human evolution that we are keen on holding onto. Fried foods have a lot of fats, and it was essential for our survival in prehistoric times because of the high energy content fats offer.
But how relevant are these fats in modern times where we don’t need so much energy? The biggest issue with fried food is that the high temperatures that we need to fry food cause the oxidation of cholesterol.
This oxidation can cause heart disease and many other chronic diseases. Air fryers offered a way to get away from the oil while maintaining food taste. Adverts suggest air fryers are a healthy substitute and they are selling more each year.
Two things set air fryers apart from other frying methods; the first is that they use only a fraction of the oil other fryers use. Air fryers depend on air to circulate the heat around the food and make it taste like deep frying.
Air fryers mix tiny oil droplets with hot air; then pass the combination through the food to remove moisture to produce a crispy and tasty food. Most fryers use about 75 ml of oil to fry food, while an air fryer uses only 15 ml.
The second aspect that sets air fryers apart is the length of cooking time. Deep fryers take longer to cook food, and frying food for long can create dangerous compounds like acrylamide. The body converts acrylamide to glycidamide, which can cause gene mutations and tumors.
Air fryers fry food for longer and higher temperatures than regular deep fryers. This increase in cooking time increases the production of acrylamide by about 30%, which puts your health at risk. This is not a consistent result, and manufacturers are putting more research into it.
Other studies show that air fryers can produce harmful compounds other than acrylamide which means it is not entirely innocent. Air fryers are healthier for the most part, but they have their challenges, and eventually, it is up to you to choose what you like best.
What Can You Cook In An Air Fryer?
So you read about air fryers and how incredible they are at making fried food, and you finally go online and order one. When you have it at home, you start thinking about what you can use it for cooking, and you have concerns; here is a simple guide on what you can cook;
When it comes to cooking with an air fryer, your imagination is the only thing limiting you. The name might lead you to think it is only suitable for frying things, but there is more to an air fryer than that.
You can look at an air fryer as a high-powered, small oven on your counter. It circulates air through your food, and you can make almost anything with an air fryer depending on how you use it and the bowls you use for cooking.
You can put any food in the basket and cook it; make sure the food doesn’t have too much water since it might mess up the fryer. You can use it to warm foods or fry them for the first time.
With an air fryer, you can prepare some classics like onion rings, chicken wings, all types of fries, coconut shrimp, and so on.
The idea is anything that you can fry in a traditional fryer can go into the air fryer and come out tasting almost as good.
You can even make baked goods like banana bread or veggie frittatas with suitable containers. You can also bake small cakes if you want to, but you need to know how long it takes to cook.
The critical part is getting a container to fit into the air fryer and preventing spills as the air rushes around the food.
Fried foods taste as good as they do because of the high oil level, so inevitably, less oil will compromise the taste, but the difference won’t be too big.
Air fryers are popular, and they have grown in sales since their launch in 2010 because of their numerous benefits. The most significant advantage of using air fryers is the small amount it uses, which ensures all that use it don’t risk having too much cholesterol in their systems.
Other compounds come up in higher quantities because of how air fryers work, but the benefits outweigh the problems, so it is a good trade. The food will taste a little different, but it’s not so different that it should prevent you from enjoying the meal.