The Jakarta Post
Illustration of an air fryer. (Shutterstock/leungchopan)
Air fryers have become a popular option for many people, especially those who don’t have time to cook all their meals in the traditional way, those trying to avoid oil or those who value convenience and are looking for an easy-to-use alternative to stoves or ovens.
While air fryers come with a lot of benefits and seem simple to use, there are still some things you need to watch out for. The results of your cooking also depend not only on how you use it, but what you put in it as well.
Here are some things to avoid to ensure you put your air fryer to the best use, as compiled by Reader’s Digest.
1. Not getting enough air
Your air fryer needs enough air and space to allow it to move heat around the food for an “all-over” crispness.
A good 12.5 centimeters of space should be kept on all sides of the air fryer, and you should also place it on a stable surface to make sure your food is fried to perfection.
2. Using too much oil
How much oil do you have to put in your fryer? A teaspoon or two should do.
Going overboard with oil will result in food that is not properly cooked. This is because your air fryer is already moving very hot air around your food as it bakes. It’s not a deep fryer that requires you to dump in loads of oil, according to recipe writer and blogger Jim Mumford.
3. Not using oil
Similarly, not using enough oil will also affect the results.
Using a small amount of oil with the help of a non-stick spray will make your food crispier and more browned, says Mumford.
4. Forgetting to preheat
An air fryer needs to be hot so it can properly cook your food from the moment the latch is shut. If it’s too cold, the final results may suffer.
Preheating your air fryer by turning it on for about five minutes before you put your food in makes a big difference.
5. The food is too wet
An air fryer isn’t capable of expelling moisture from your food, says Mumford.
He recommends putting in breaded or crunchy food like chicken nuggets or Brussel sprouts for optimum results, instead of limp and wet vegetables.
6. The food is too small
Foods that are too small for the basket will end up slipping through the slots and onto the heating element of the fryer. They will burn quickly and will fill your kitchen with smoke and fumes.
A good measure for the food you put in your air fryers is anything larger than a regular French fry.
You can also try putting a piece of the food in the basket to see if it slips out when you shake it. If it does, that’s a sign it can’t be cooked in the fryer.
7. Not cleaning your air fryer
Aside from being unhygienic and bad for your stomach, food contamination is another result from not washing your air fryer in between uses, according to editor of food safety blog Candess Zona-Mendola.
“Aim to clean your air fryer after every meal that’s cooked in it,” says Zona-Mendola. “Use hot water with a bit of dishwashing liquid. Let the basket soak as long as it needs so you don’t have to scrub off baked-on food. Three minutes of your time will keep your air fryer fresh [and] your tummy safe, and your kitchen won’t stink.”
8. Not checking the food’s temperature
You should always treat your air fryer like any other cooking appliance, be it a grill, oven, or stove.
“Those who think that there is no need to check the internal temperatures when food is air-fried are serving up a recipe for disaster,” says Zona-Mendola. “You want to make sure that you are practicing the same sanitary precautions, as well as cooking temp precautions, as you would with any other method of cooking.”
9. Cooking too much food
If you overcrowd the basket with food, it won’t have a lot of exposed surface for the heat to go through to cook it.
Since the air fryer cooks quickly, do small batches instead to make sure all the food is cooked for the best flavor and texture. Using a larger air fryer will also allow you to cook more food in one sitting.
10. Letting fatty food drip
Putting water at the bottom of the cavity under the basket when cooking fatty food is vital.
This will ensure drops of fat hit water instead of a hot surface as the food cooks, preventing it from burning, smoking up and smelling. (car/wng)
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