In a world where we can’t live without fried food (which may be harmful to our health), air fryers are a wonderful solution.
Unlike the conventional method of frying that involves submerging food in oil for a recommended period of time over heat, an air fryer cooks food with as little as one tablespoon of oil. It is the healthier replacement for deep frying.
An air fryer is an enclosed chamber for frying food. It consists of a pan in an enclosed chamber where food is added along with little drops of oil.
The chamber is closed and a fan introduces hot air into the chamber. There is usually a small handle that is used for rotating the pan while it is cooking.
This rotation process ensures that the oil gets introduced to the food and that the food is adequately cooked. The temperature in an air fryer is usually around 204 degrees Celsius.
The cooking time depends on the type of food to be cooked and how crispy you want the food to be. It will take a longer time to fry steak than it will to make French fries.
Air fryers have gained popularity recently because it is a healthier replacement for deep fryers.
Air Fryer vs. Deep Fryer
|Air Fryer||Deep Fryer|
|Requires a very little amount of oil.||Involves a large amount of oil.|
|Frying process involves the introduction of hot oil into a closed chamber that contains the food and little amount of oil.||In deep frying, the food is placed in a basket and the basket is submerged in a medium to large-sized pan of pre-heated oil.|
|The food prepared here still contains a large amount of its original nutrients||Deep fried food usually has most of their nutrients ‘cooked’ away.|
|More expensive to acquire||Most pots or pans can be used for deep frying which makes it less expensive.|
|Only a small fraction of oil is absorbed into the food making it a healthier option.||A large amount of fat is absorbed into the food and when eaten regularly, can lead to an increase in calorie consumption, heart disease, high cholesterol and many other problems which result from consuming too much saturated fat.|
Air Fryer Liners
These are perforated coverings that fit at the bottom of your air fryer and their main use is for preventing food from sticking to the bottom of air fryers.
One of the challenges of using air fryers is how food continuously sticks to the bottom, which makes it difficult to clean the air fryer and also makes the food look a bit scattered.
Air fryer liners also prevent food from burning as they help reduce the direct effect of the heat from the air fryer. These liners basically help to have a seamless and stress-free cooking process.
What Can I Use to Line My Air Fryers?
Because of the amount of heat that is involved in air frying and the fact that oil is also used, the type of liner should be one that can absorb oil and heat without it going to pieces.
One of the most common tested and trusted means of lining your air fryer are parchment paper liners. Using parchment paper to line your air fryer is a perfect way to protect your food from burning while also reducing the time you’ll take to clean your air fryer.
Parchment paper usually comes with perforated holes made specifically for air frying. However, if your paper is the type that has no holes, you can create the holes yourself using any sharp object.
After cutting the paper to suit the size of your air fryer, you can use a sharp object to poke a few holes randomly on the paper. These holes help in regulating the hot air throughout the paper and ensuring all the food in the fryer gets adequately cooked.
Do not preheat your air fryer with the paper in it as the hot air will cause the paper to elevate. It is better to add your ingredients and your food after spreading the paper.
After cooking, all you have to do is throw the parchment paper into the trash and rinse out the air fryer. You will find that the amount of food sticking to your air fryer has reduced drastically and is almost non-existent.
The parchment paper is sold in different shapes and sizes, all you have to do is find the one that best suits your air fryer.
Another option for an air fryer liner, albeit a bit low in the scale of recommendations, is aluminum foil.
Like with parchment paper, you have to create spaces or holes for airflow. Due to how light aluminum foil is, you have to be careful in the perforation process so as not to destroy your foil paper.
Before using an aluminium foil as a liner, first check your air fryer manual to see if it is compatible with your air fryer as aluminum foil cannot be used for all types of air fryers.
To line your air fryer, spread your aluminum foil on the bottom of the fryer.
Do not cover the baskets totally, leave a little room for air movement. Avoid using the aluminum foil to cover the holes in your fryer as this will block hot air circulation and prevent food from cooking.
Tips for Using Air Fryers
- Preheating your air fryer before cooking your food will help get the food done faster.
- Using an air fryer liner, such as perforated parchment paper or aluminum foil, will save you from a lot of stress and is a great long-term investment.
- Avoid using extra virgin olive oil as it has a low burning temperature and can cause smoking pretty fast.
- Fatty foods such as chicken, meat, etc, will melt their fats into the air fryer and cause smoking. Therefore, always add water to the air fryer draw. The water will mix with the fats from the food and prevent smoking.
- When cooking, you have to constantly shake the air fryer basket, to ensure that the heat is evenly distributed and the food is cooked properly.
- When arranging your food into your air fryer, do not put too much at a time. Leave enough room for the air to circulate and properly cook the food.
- Many non-stick aerosol sprays contain certain additives that will damage your air fryer when used on it. You can add cooking oil to a spray can and use it on your fryer instead.
- The air fryer can also be used for reheating your food as you would have done in the microwave.
- Do not try to add your spices and seasoning directly to the food in the air fryer as the air from the fryer will blow them away in different directions. Always mix the spices with oil before sprinkling them on your food.
- Clean your air fryer regularly to remove grease and food particles stuck on it. Do not wash in a dishwasher. Always clean your air fryer manually.
- Remember your air fryer is not a deep fryer, it doesn’t require a large amount of oil, a few sprinkles will do. Less is always more in an air fryer.
An air fryer is a healthier replacement for your deep fryer. You can still have your fried food and all its crispy goodness without having to worry about its effect on your health and body.
Using fryer liners such as parchment paper will help prevent food from sticking to your air fryer, prevent food from burning, and prevent oil build up on your air fryer.