Do I Really Need One?

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Air fryers have been a hot item for quite a while now. I never felt the need for one. After all, I don’t deep fry, and I seldom fry things. But note I said “felt.” Past tense.

I watched many air fryer presentations on TV and YouTube. I followed posts on FB about the various kinds and the merits of having one–or not.  For a long time, I resisted. And then one day, and I don’t know what precipitated the change, I decided I’d like to have one. And since I’m not one of those blogger who have companies send them products to review (and admittedly I’m jealous), I had to buy my own. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money (some are quite pricey), but I wanted to see what they were all about. It was after Christmas, and Walmart was having a pretty good sale on the Farberware Air Fryer, so I decided to give it a shot. Besides, if I didn’t like it, I could easily return it.

This Farberware Air Fryer is pretty basic. It has a nonstick basket that can easily be removed from the basket holder. The top dial controls temperature–175 degrees to 400 degrees. The bottom is time, which goes from 0 minutes to 30. The basket holds up to 2 pounds of food. You can use no oil or just a little. They recommend spraying oil on the food, which is what I usually do if I need to add oil.

A partial bag of french fries had been languishing in my freezer for quite some time, so I decided to start with those. (That’s not my picture up there, so those aren’t my french fries.) I set the temp and time as recommended in the instructions and preheat the unit for just a few minutes. Then I added the fries. During the 15 or so minutes I cooked them, I took the basket out and shook the fries a few time. The fryer stops when you remove the basket and restarts when it’s reinserted. The result? The fries were crispy and tasty.  Big win!

Since that initial trial, I have reheated food in my air fryer. It did quite well. And I must say it makes a killer toasted cheese. It also makes better toast than my toaster! And I got a crispy fried chicken with no flour and almost no oil.

One day I wondered if I could use it to roast nuts. I usually buy raw nuts for my nut butters and roast them myself. Though this isn’t one of their products, I contacted the chef who presents air fryers on QVC and has written a cookbook specifically for air fryers. She said sure but reminded me to shake the basket several times in the process. I usually use my counter oven to roast nuts, but stirring them can be problematic. Besides, since I use it for storage, I have to find some place to put the things stored on and inside it. Easier said than done sometimes. Anyway, I tried it with some cashews, and it worked really well. They made a wonderfully tasty cashew butter.

Cashew butter from home-roasted cashews

Now I’m wondering if I can use it to roast coffee beans.

Did I need an air fryer? Of course not. Am I glad I got one? Absolutely. If you’re thinking about getting one, a couple of things. Do your homework. Most work about the same but have different features. For example, mine has dials, but I think were I to buy another one, I’d go for a digital one. I sometimes have dexterity issues, and the dial can be a bit difficult to turn at times. They are also available in different sizes. While mine says it holds up to 2 pounds of food, that doesn’t necessarily mean one should cook 2 pounds of food at a time. Overcrowding can prevent airflow and hinder crisping. Just like when frying on the stove or in the oven. And remember that in most cases you’ll need to flip food or shake the basket during the cook time.





© Copyright 2017 Ida Walker, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Enabling Cook
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