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Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022

Get Unwrapped!


Getting Started with Your Air Fryer

Christmas has come and gone. Gone are the hustle of shopping and the bustle of hugs and kisses at parties.

It feels like ages since we packed up our Christmas decor. In the midst of having feelings of melancholy while looking at our blank, plain space, we notice a box. A large box. Puzzled, we walk over to the strange, large package. Inside the box is the beloved air fryer we promised ourselves we needed for the new year. We even set up a new Pinterest board and joined several Facebook groups focused on air fryer cooking. “I am ready to air fry!” But here we are, staring at this big box.

Our mind starts to race. We contemplate, “Should I unpack this and put it on my counter?” Then sudden panic hits: “I don’t want to put another appliance on my counter top!” Then the realization hits, “How do I use this thing?”

Today, I am putting you at ease and getting you started with your air fryer.

Why, as a dietitian, do I love the air fryer?

• Healthier Way of Cooking. The air fryer is not a deep fryer. Instead, the air fryer requires very little oil. The air fryer is an oven that uses air for heat. And, it can still brown vegetables, give us crispy, perfect wings, and quick, yummy weeknight meals.

• Faster Cook Time. An air fryer is an appliance you will want to leave on your countertop since it is a huge time saver. Often, we can shave off one-third of the cooking time when transitioning an oven recipe to an air fryer recipe.

How to Set Up Your Air Fryer

• Unpack the air fryer. Throw away the box and admire your new piece of kitchen equipment.

• Select the perfect location. Place the air fryer on a heat-resistant surface eight inches from the wall. • Get it clean. Using a clean cloth, wipe the outside of the air fryer down. • Place the grate in the basket (this is where you place your food for cooking).

Your First Cooking Experience in the Air Fryer

Relax. Using any new appliance can make us sweat. Realize it will take four good times (recipes) for you to get used to your air fryer. I highly recommend testing out vegetables first. This way, if you make a mistake, it won’t be considerable time or money wasted.

Start with green beans, broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus. Green beans are always my first suggestion to cook in the air fryer. Why? We can quickly pick this up in the produce section, it’s pretty cheap, and most of our family members eat green beans. Continue testing with broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus. If using broccoli or cauliflower, be sure to cut into small florets.

Prep your vegetables. Wash and pat dry the vegetables and place them in the basket.

Spritz and season. Spray a very light coating of avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil (we talk more about oils below). Add a light dusting of mineral salt and pepper.

Cooking. Close the basket, set at 360, and cook for the following times:

Green beans and asparagus: 10-15 minutes.

Broccoli and cauliflower: 15-20 minutes. When using the air fryer, it is perfectly OK (and I thoroughly recommend it) for you to open the basket and peek at the food. If your recipe calls for a cook time of 15 minutes, you should check on the food at seven minutes and give the basket a shake.

Noise. Don’t get scared; the air fryer does get noisy when cooking.

Don’t Make These Mistakes

• Bathing the food in oil. We only need a very light coating of oil. Often I use nonstick avocado oil or no more than one teaspoon of avocado or extra virgin olive oil. If you use too much oil, the air fryer could smoke, and the food won’t crisp.

• Using a too low smoke point oil. Since I teach keto and low carb in my clinic, I push avocado oil. Many other high smoke point oils are fine but do not classify as keto. Using regular olive oil can cause the air fryer to smoke (this is why I used extra virgin olive oil).

• Crowding the drawer. Similar to cooking in the oven, you don’t want to pack food on top of each other. The food will come out more crispy and cooked evenly in small batches.

For more recipes starring the air fryer, be sure to visit my website, www. shellyinthekitchen.com, as well as my You Tube page, Shelly Marie Redmond.


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