Air fryers cook by circulating hot air around food. A heating element, much like a stove top burner is situated above the food and then a fan is used to rapidly move the air around the food.Food comes out crispy on the outside while moist and tend on the inside. Air fryers provide a healthier alternative to convention frying because they use very little or no oil during the cooking process.

The appliance itself sits on the countertop like a crock pot and plugs into an electrical outlet. Air fryers are available in various sizes, so you can choose the size appropriate for the number of people you are preparing meals. The unit contains a basket or trays to hold food. Some units have a digital control panel while other have dials or knobs.

Air fryers were introduced to consumers in 2010 in Europe and Australia and became popular in the United States in 2019. Many air fryers now have multiple functions such as roasting, and even dehydrating foods. Air fryers are said to reduce the amount of acrylamides that are formed during deep-fat frying of high-carb foods by 90 percent. Acrylamide compounds are considered probable carcinogens.

There are many pros and cons to purchasing an air fryer. You just need to be sure and do some research if you're interested in purchasing one. How and what do you cook now? How many people do you cook for? How much space do you have for storage or countertop space for use? What appliances do you already have that may be able to do the same thing, or almost? Do you want to learn how to use it? How much money are you willing to spend?

The price tag for low-end or smaller air fryers with less features are approximately $40 to $100 and for larger, multifunctional models you may spend between $200 to $400. For more information on air fryers check out the Cherokee County OSU Facebook page, I uploaded a short lesson on air fryers Friday afternoon.

For info on financial management, health and wellness, or parenting, call 918-456-6163.

Heather Winn is a family and consumer sciences educator for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service in Cherokee County.

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