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Air Fryers: The healthy and versatile revolution in the kitchen. Is it worth buying?

Air fryers have emerged as a healthy and efficient alternative for cooking a wide variety of foods. This appliance uses hot air to fry foods with a minimal amount of oil, offering a practical solution for those looking to reduce their fat intake without sacrificing the taste and texture of traditional fried foods. In this article, we explore in depth the advantages, operation, types, tips for use and cleaning, and comparisons with other cooking methods.

Health benefits

One of the main reasons air fryers have gained popularity is because of their ability to prepare foods with less oil, significantly reducing the calorie and saturated fat content. Studies have shown that cooking with less oil can reduce the formation of toxic compounds such as acrylamide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines, all of which are associated with an increased risk of cancer and other diseases. Plus, air fryers help preserve food's nutrients better than some traditional cooking methods.

Versatility in the kitchen

Air fryers are incredibly versatile and can cook a wide variety of foods:
Chips: They get a crispy, golden exterior with a fraction of the oil.
- Chicken wings: They remain crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
– Empanadas and croquettes: They achieve uniform browning without the need to submerge them in oil.
- Desserts: Muffins, donuts and bagels can be prepared easily.
- Meat and fish: Chicken, steaks, salmon, among others, are cooked perfectly while maintaining their juiciness.
- Vegetables: Zucchini, eggplants, potatoes, carrots and more, roasted and with excellent flavor.

Operation and types of air fryers

Air fryers work by circulating hot air at high speed, allowing food to be cooked evenly. This method is similar to that of a convection oven but in a more compact and efficient format. There are several types of air fryers:
1. Drawer or front bucket fryer with basket: This is the most common model. It has an ovoid shape and a removable bucket or basket where the food is placed. It has a control panel at the top and is easy to use.
2. Scoop Top Opening Fryer: More compact, with a bucket accessible from the top and a rotating paddle that mixes food automatically for more uniform cooking.
3. Multifunction fryer-oven: These models combine the functions of an air fryer with those of an oven, allowing cooking on several levels. They include accessories such as skewers for grilling chicken.

Advantages of using an air fryer

1. Health: Significant reduction of fat and calories.
2. Energy efficiency: They consume less electricity than conventional ovens.
3. Ease of cleaning: Without large amounts of oil, they are easier to clean.
4. Practicality: They allow you to cook quickly without the need to preheat, with timers and automatic functions.
5. Less odors: They generate fewer odors compared to traditional frying.

Tips for choosing an air fryer

1. Budget and functionality: Prices vary depending on additional features. It is essential to choose a model that fits specific needs without paying for unnecessary features.
2. Capacity: Varies between 1 and 6 liters. A 1-liter fryer is usually enough for two servings, while a larger capacity one is ideal for larger families.
3. Temperature: It is crucial that it reaches up to 230 degrees for greater versatility in the kitchen.
4. Materials: Opt for stainless steel and non-stick materials for durability.
5. Control and ease of use: Digital or Wi-Fi models offer greater precision and convenience.
6. Additional features: Some models include extra functions such as baking, toasting and roasting.

Comparison with other appliances

Air fryers are often compared to ovens, but they have a few key differences:
* Cooking method: They use high-velocity hot air circulation, while ovens use radiant heat.
* Type of food: Ideal for fried foods, while ovens are more versatile and can bake, roast, toast, gratin and cook a wide variety of foods.
* Cooking time: Air fryers tend to cook faster.
* Texture and flavor: They produce foods that are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
* Oil use: They require less oil than ovens.

Advantages and disadvantages

Pros:
* Less oil usage, which reduces calories.
* Fast and efficient cooking.
* Compact and economical models.
* Easy cleaning and less odors.
Cons:
* Texture and flavor slightly different from traditional frying.
* Longer cooking times for some foods.
* Limited capacity for large quantities of food.

Tips for using an air fryer

1. Use the right temperature: Each food requires a specific temperature to achieve the best texture and flavor.
2. Add a small amount of oil: Spraying a minimal amount of oil on food can improve crispiness.
3. Do not overload the fryer: Filling the basket too much can prevent proper air circulation and affect cooking.
4. Move food during cooking: In some models, it is advisable to shake or turn the food halfway through cooking for even browning.

How to clean an air fryer

1. Cool the fryer: Turn off and allow the fryer to cool completely before cleaning.
2. Remove and clean the basket: Take out the basket and tray, and clean them with soap and water. For tough stains, let them soak.
3. Clean the interior: Use a damp cloth to clean the inside of the fryer.
4. Clean the exterior: Wipe the outside with a clean cloth to remove any grease residue.
5. Dry all parts: Make sure all parts are completely dry before reassembling the fryer.

Is the air fryer worth it?

Air fryers are a great option for those looking for a healthier way to enjoy fried foods. They offer the possibility of cooking a wide variety of foods with less fat and calories, and are practical and easy to use. Although they do not completely replace traditional frying, they represent a healthy and efficient alternative for everyday use in the kitchen. Plus, their ability to cook quickly and with less fat makes them a valuable addition to any modern kitchen. With multiple models available, it's easy to find an air fryer that fits your specific needs and allows you to enjoy delicious, healthier meals.

Recommended fryers

Cosori

First of all we have this Cosori hot air fryer, which has a capacity of 6 liters (perfect for families of up to 6 members), 11 different programs that include the possibility of programming cooking up to 4 hours in advance and the ability to keep warm our food once cooked.
It is also perfect for beginners since thanks to its Wi-Fi connection and the app, we can choose from more than 100 recipes to cook easily. Once we are finished, we can put the removable elements of our fryer in the dishwasher.

Tefal

This Tefal fryer has nine different automatic dishes: French fries, breaded, battered, rolls, meatballs and vegetables, chicken, desserts, wok and world cuisine, although it also has a manual mode so that we can prepare our dishes using its touch screen. own recipes.
It also includes a practical snaking accessory for fragile ingredients, a recipe book with more than 150 recipes and thanks to the mi actifry app we can consult up to 300 recipes. Its parts are removable and dishwasher safe.

Cecotec

Another of our proposals is this fryer with a national design, which among other virtues has an accessory that allows us to also use it as an oven, although with limitations since the space is reduced compared to a conventional oven.
This Cecotec is programmable in both time and temperature and cooks up to 400 grams of potatoes (for example) in one go since it has a 1.5 liter capacity. And so that you get to know how it works from the beginning.

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