Episode 56: Technology Bytes. . .Air Fryer

This is Technology Bytes, episode 56 for March 31st, 2024.

Technology Bytes is a microcast where I share brief bytes on interesting technology.

My name is Joel.

Enjoy, and here we go.

Interestingly enough, in my opening, I always say that I talk about interesting technology.

Well, at least it should be interesting, and I hope it is.

And often, maybe it’s only interesting to me and something I want to talk about.

This week, I may stretch that a little bit.

So this week, I want to talk about an air fryer.

Is that technology?

Well, it’s new.

It has a power plug.

It has push buttons.

It has a digital display, depending on what you get.

Yeah, maybe technology.

And so it’s something that my wife uses a bit, and I’ve used as well to cook some of the food that we eat on a semi-regular basis.

And if you do shopping, you will notice that there are quite a few foods that now have directions for an air fryer.

It’ll say conventional oven.

So what we used to read, right, is conventional oven and microwave.

And those are the two ways that you could prepare food.

And now they’ve added a third oftentimes, and it’ll say conventional oven.

It’ll say microwave, and then it will say air fryer.

So what does an air fryer do?

Before I get into how an air fryer works, let’s talk about why.

And it’s interesting because this is not the first topic, as I wrote it in my notes, but I think it’s probably a good place to start.

And the reality is that many people, and maybe Americans more than others, really like our fried food.

And why is it that we like fried food?

Well, one is potentially the oil and the fat that’s in the fried food.

That makes it taste good.

And one that you cannot deny is the crispiness.

There’s something about that fried food, the French fries, the fried chicken, the fried wontons, whatever you might be eating that just crunches in your mouth and it tastes so good.

So somebody, or multiple somebodies, or company, or whatever, decided, well, that’s not healthy for Americans, and so maybe we should find a way to feed people crunchy food that isn’t dripping in grease, which is often needed for the crunch to happen.

And we call that deep fried.

And they deep fry everything.

If you go to a county fair in America, you’ve got deep fried Oreos, deep fried butter.

It’s just crazy.

But that’s the thing that we really like.

And so air fryers try to provide that with a little more health consciousness.

So how does an air fryer work?

Well, it really just works by pumping hot air into a sealed unit and then moving that air around the food that it is cooking.

And it does it in a fairly high velocity, and that way the food is heated through and very evenly for the most part, and it also provides a crunch on the outside of whatever it is that you put in the air fryer.

The neat thing is that you don’t have to have batter like you do in a deep fried system where you dip something in a wet batter and then you dip it in the oil and then you get that crunch.

And oftentimes, if you don’t do that correctly, the center of whatever it is that you’re deep frying can actually remain cold.

And so that air fryer keeps that from happening, really.

And then it also doesn’t require that batter.

In fact, if you use a batter, it’s going to make a just terrible mess inside your air fryer.

So maybe a light coating of oil to help the crunch happen, but you don’t even have to do that.

You can just put the food right in.

And the reality is when you do that, you get a hot, crispy item coming out of the air fryer.

One other thing I might mention about how the air fryer works is because it’s moving food.

So your food gets placed in a basket that does not restrict airflow or tries not to restrict airflow.

And so then you have to place the food in a manner that allows every part of it to get hit with very hot air.

And so the cooking happens relatively quickly.

But if you stack the food or pile too much in and the air doesn’t get to the middle, then you will get food that may be warm but doesn’t have the crunch that you might like.

So there’s a couple things that happen.

One is how you load the food.

One is what the basket looks like and how it restricts or does not restrict the airflow.

And then just how hot the air gets and how good the seal is to keep that heat inside the air fryer.

The top of all of those, good airflow, good baskets, good seal, means that in a relatively short period of time, you will end up with good, crispy food.

The other question that I asked was when do you use an air fryer versus doing more normal, conventional cooking or whatever.

And really it comes down to what the outside of the food you’re going to eat should be like.

Is it something that needs to be crispy?

Is it something that’s better that you want crispy?

So my wife and I do some little tacos that we’ll do in the air fryer.

We do some egg roll type things.

We do fladas.

So it’s a lot of wrapped type of food or folded types of food.

But it allows the external of those things.

So a shell or the flour wrapping or whatever is around the food to get crispy.

And so we use it quite a bit for our dinner foods.

And then we’ll have salsa or whatever else might be, dipping sauce.

And then maybe on a conventional stovetop, you can heat vegetables or maybe even in the microwave.

And you can have a really good meal in a relatively short period of time.

Well, now that I’ve gone on and on about the air fryer, is it really technology?

Some may argue that it isn’t.

In fact, I live in Arizona and you might say an air fryer is just like going out into the Arizona summer in the middle of the desert on a windy day.

You stay there too long, you’ll be crispy too.

Well, that’s all I have for today.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, you can reach me at TechnologyBytes at MerrickFamily.com.

I always look forward to hearing from you.

I want to thank you for listening to the Technology Bytes microcast.

And I look forward to the next time we are together taking another bite out of crispy technology.

Joel Mearig @technologybytes