TÜV SÜD’s experts give tips for purchasing deep fryers
In these times where low carb, low fat and other diets abound, deep fryers are controversial products. Nevertheless, many consumers swear by this kitchen appliance, as chips, for example, quite simply taste better when deep-fried in oil. But chips are not the only food that can be deep-fried. Meat dishes, vegetables and pastry can also be cooked in this way. TÜV SÜD expert Christian Kästl knows what to look out for in a deep fryer and how to use it.
“There are basically two types of fryers: deep fryers, which use large amounts of fat or oil, and air fryers, which circulate hot air. Of course, each type of device has its advantages and disadvantages. However, fans of crisp fried food who are mulling over the idea of buying a deep fryer should carefully consider whether a large saucepan – or even the oven – may be enough for their needs, or whether they really need a separate device”, advises Christian Kästl. In the air fryer, food is cooked by circulating air with minimum or no oil. These models are available with a normal food basket, a rotating food basket or a stirring paddle.
Advantages include the low fat levels used in preparation, the odour-free operation and the fact that that models with a normal food basket are also suitable for baking. However, their disadvantages include less intensive taste and uneven browning. In addition, rotating food baskets can only be used for chips, as the constant movement would not be suitable for pastries. Buyers of these devices should make sure the deep fryer they choose is easy to clean. A display on the outside of the fryer, which allows temperature and time to be set, is also a helpful feature. “For food lovers who value healthy and low-fat deep-fried food, the air fryer is the right choice”, says the TÜV SÜD tester.
More fat means more flavour Consumers that are less worried about their waistlines go for a more traditional method of frying – the deep fryer. Its advantages include food that is definitely tastier, and a wider range of uses than air fryers. However, a classic fryer also involves the disadvantages of increased fire risk and strong odour of frying. In addition, this type of fryer requires a large amount of oil for food preparation. Purchasers of conventional deep fryers must look out for some important aspects when buying and using their devices.
The housing: Best is a housing made of plastic which does not get too hot. A viewing window and a display showing the frying temperature are also helpful.
The cover: An automatically opening cover is more convenient than a loose lid. Handles should be insulated to avoid the risk of burns. The cover should also close tightly and include a permanent metal filter or activated carbon filter to keep unpleasant odours to a minimum.
The inside: The inside of the deep-fryer container should be made of stainless steel or Teflon. Modern deep fryers also have a “cold zone”, in which the fat at the bottom stays cooler. This prevents any food scraps remaining in the device from burning and reduces the formation of acrylamide.
The food basket: Ideally, the food basket can be conveniently lifted and lowered while the deep fryer is closed. In models of this kind, the food basket is only lowered into the oil when the cover is closed, preventing splattering and reducing the risk of burns. A rotating food basket is ideal for preparing tasty food with less fat, as only half of the food is immersed in oil at any given time.
Cleaning: For easy cleaning of the deep fryer, as many parts as possible should be removable. As the fat or oil has to be drained before cleaning, an integrated pouring spout is helpful.
Use: Non-slip, stable positioning is essential for safety when handling hot oil and fat. To keep unpleasant odours at bay, the deep fryer can be placed near a window. However, be careful never to place the deep fryer under an extractor hood in operation. “In most instances, filters of extractor hoods are covered in a layer of fat, which easily catches fire. The burning fat can thus all too easily spread through the entire kitchen", explains Christian Kästl. As far as safety and quality are concerned, consumers can also find guidance by looking out for the GS mark (Geprüfte Sicherheit).