Air Frying - Value for money or Hype

 A little late to the party but we have bought an air fryer ...

Photo 1: Air Fryer, 11L, £89, Argos

I've yet to be convinced it is as cost-effective as it is claimed to be but Mary has been convinced by several family testimonials. I noticed cost savings claimed in the publicity material are around 30%, considerably less than the outlandish claims suggested when they first arrived on the scene. I can see the time, economic, and health advantages of air fryers (c.f. ovens) when preparing meals for one or two people. But I do wonder whether most purchasers will only use it to cook frozen chips, ready meals, and pizzas. Maybe there is an advantage when cooking meat but we won't be testing that as vegetarians/vegans.

The air fryer got its first use cooking Sunday breakfast - hash browns, halloumi, and mushrooms (Photo 1) together with baked beans heated up in the microwave. I have to admit it was rather tasty!

The second meal, prepared later the same day, comprised roast vegetables from the kitchen garden (potatoes, carrots, parsnip and beetroot, see Photo 2), a couple of vegetarian sausages (frozen, cooked in the frying pan as the air fryer was full!!), French beans from the garden (cooked in the microwave), Yorkshire puddings (frozen, cooked in the air fryer), and gravy. Another tasty & healthy meal.

Photo 2: Root Veg from the Kitchen Garden

Please note that one of the carrots was normal instead of the usual misshaped vegetables. The parsnip was a little on the small size but it is a bit early to be harvesting them now. The white and yellow beetroot were deliciously sweet when roasted in the air fryer (although my beetroot is always delicious and sweet no matter how you cook it!).

Verdict so far on the air fryer? Bit early to say. Our appliance has a capacity of 11 litres and comes with three trays. We were only able to cook part of our meal for two - with a slightly bigger model we could have 'cooked' the sausages in it as well. There was certainly a time-saving (about 25-33 %) and, no doubt, a similar energy/cost saving.

We will still be using our conventional fan oven for batch baking of bread, cakes and biscuits, preparing larger meals such as my cauliflower bake that takes 3 days to consume ...

Photo 3: Cauliflower Bake (smaller version)

and commercial-scale vegetable roasting destined for the freezer.

I feel a period of experimentation coming on ...


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