As Americans, we have a love affair with fried food. Whether it’s french fries or fried chicken, we love food dipped in grease and cooked to golden brown perfection. However, as with all good things, there is a downside to this obsession, which, of course, is the negative nutritional value. Too much fat in our diets are turning us obese and out of shape. So how can we indulge in our favorite foods without destroying our waistline? Luckily, there may be an answer that isn’t the standard “diet and exercise” we have too frequently heard. It’s called an Air Fryer, and it allows you to cook fried foods without the guilt of drowning everything in fat. Today I’ll show you one of the best Black and Decker Air Fryers out there, as well as show you how the system works.
What is an air fryer?
It can kind of be hard to believe that you can fry foods with just hot air instead of oil. However, when you get down to what constitutes a “fried” food, it is just a matter of crispiness. The difference between fried chicken and baked chicken is the layer of breading and skin, and the difference between French fries and regular potatoes is the shape and crispiness of the outside. That being said, an air fryer uses circulating hot air to cook the food and develop a crispy exterior, thanks to something called the Maillard Effect.
The Maillard Effect is a somewhat complicated procedure but put in lay terms it refers to the effect of browning that occurs on the outside of your food. Once food is heated rapidly on the outside, it crisps and browns due to a reaction of the particles within.
Simply put, an air fryer crisps your foods by using hot air instead of cooking oil.
Why would you use an air fryer?
There are several reasons to use an air fryer, but the most important is health. By eliminating the fat content generated by oil frying, you can enjoy fried foods without the extra calories. Other reasons to use an air fryer are:
- Safer to use since there is no hot oil to worry about
- Easier to clean
- Cheaper to maintain with no oil to refill
- Faster and more efficient cooking times
What to look for in an air fryer
Like with all cooking equipment, there are some factors you should consider when buying an air fryer, such as:
- Size: make sure you have room for an air fryer in your kitchen
- Capacity: check to see how much food you can cook at one time to ensure it makes enough
- Safety: Although it doesn’t use oil, an air fryer still gets hot, so make sure it has safety features, such as an auto shut-off if you forget to turn it off
- Price: air fryers can be quite an investment, so make sure that you choose a model that is cost effective and will last
- Versatility: some models have customizable settings, others come with a host of accessories, so pick a model that fits your needs
The Black Decker Air Fryer Review Pros and Cons
- Dual convection fans means your food cooks faster
- No oil means this fryer is healthier and safer
- Comes with built-in timer and automatically shuts off once timer reaches zero
- Cool touch handle prevents burns
- Customizable temperature control
- Large capacity
- Large size makes it a bit cumbersome and will take up a lot of counter space
- In some cases, food may not crisp or brown properly
- For fried food experts, it may not make comparable results to a deep fryer
- According to the instructions, you are only recommended to cook 8 oz of potatoes at a time, which is a relatively small amount and will require multiple sessions to get a large serving for many people
- Can be loud
- Comes with two convection fans to cook faster than other models
- Timer allows you to cook up to 60 minutes
- System automatically shuts off when timer hits zero, preventing overcooking and burning
- Adjustable temperatures let you make a variety of food
- 2 Liter capacity basket
- Handle stays cool even while machine is working to help to avoid burns
- Indicator lights tell you when machine is on as well as when it has reached temp
Q. How long does it take to cook?
A. For fries, it can take up to 20 minutes, depending on if they are frozen and how many you are cooking. For meats, it can be as little as ten to fifteen minutes, again, depending on the variables, such as the amount of food and cooking temperature.
Q. If you fill the fryer completely, will everything cook evenly?
A. Unfortunately if you fill the basket, you will have to pull it out every five or six minutes to stir everything to get an even cook on all sides.
Q. Is there any plastic inside this device?
A. No, all materials that touch your food are made of non-stick metal. No plastic will leach into your food.
Overall, the Black+Decker PuriFry is an excellent device for anyone looking to cut down on fat and calories. My only real complaint is that the basket could be larger to accommodate more food (I like to host parties regularly), but I seem to find that problem with both air and deep fryers, so I guess it’s not a proprietary problem. Another issue I have is the fact that you have to stir your food to get an even cook. That is not something I have to worry about with a deep fryer, but the tradeoff is less mess and fewer calories, so it’s ultimately worth it in the long run. Also, if you are a fried food fanatic like I am, you may miss the grease that comes with a batch of chicken wings at first, but after a few times, you hardly miss it at all.