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Posts Tagged ‘air fryers’

sweet potato fries

Almost three years ago I wrote an article about air frying. As I mentioned in the article, I was first introduced to air-fried sweet potato fries by a former neighbor. Since then, I purchased air fryers for both home and work, and I had much fun experimenting with them while at home during the pandemic. While I have tried a variety of recipes, sweet potato fries remain one of my favorite!

Sweet potatoes are a healthy vegetable full of fiber, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Air-fried sweet potato fries are healthier than traditional fries for a variety of reasons:

1) If you wash them well and prepare them with skin on, you preserve the nutrients contained in the skin.

2) By air frying, you don’t need to add much fat or oil to your food as the fryer uses convection to crisp the fries.

3) You can control or limit how much salt you add to your fries, AND sweet potatoes are a good source of potassium. While about 90% of Americans consume too much sodium, only about 3% get enough potassium. This essential nutrient is an electrolyte that helps with blood pressure control and can help offset the effects of sodium.

The below video demonstrates how to use an air fryer to make sweet potatoes into a crunchy, healthy snack or side that both kids and adults can enjoy. If you don’t have an air fryer and want to enjoy sweet potato fries, oven-roasted sweet potato wedges are a healthier alternative to traditional fries that can be prepared in the oven. In either preparation method, sweet potatoes are cut into fry-size strips, seasoned with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic power and onion powder, and cooked at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until done.

Written by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County

Reviewed by: Jami Dellifield, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Hardin County

Sources:

Brinkman, P. (2017). Potassium. OhioLine. https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-5588

Lobb, J. (2018). Fried Food without the Fat? Live Healthy, Live Well. https://livehealthyosu.com/2018/11/01/fried-food-without-the-fat/  

McDermott, T. (2021). Healthy Sweet Potato Fries. Growing Franklin. https://u.osu.edu/growingfranklin/2021/02/24/healthy-sweet-potato-fries/

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a plate with salad on one half and French fries on the otherA few months ago, I was treated to dinner at a former neighbor’s house. The host served sweet potato fries – one of my favorite sides! These fries were extra special, though, because they were prepared in an air fryer, without any added fat. Air fryers work by circulating hot air around food using a fan that cooks the food and produces a crispy outer layer while keeping the inside moist. They can be used to create foods like French fries, falafel and crispy chicken without the extra fat and calories that come from frying in oil. Air fryers do not replicate the flavor or texture of traditional deep fried foods, but if crispiness without excess calories is what you’re going for, they provide a way to “fry” small batches of food without the hassle or danger of deep-frying in large amounts of oil.

the USDA MyPlate iconA simple online keyword search will yield dozens of air fryer recipes and suggestions. When preparing to experiment with an air fryer, though, keep in mind that a crispy texture without added fat doesn’t necessary equate to healthy! To be sure, air-fried dishes are typically more healthful than their fried counterparts. But, dessert-like dishes made in an air fryer will still be high in sugar and low in nutrients and should be viewed as occasional treats, just like other types of dessert. For foolproof meal planning, use MyPlate and aim to include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy in your snacks and meals.

crispy baked chicken on a plateIf you don’t yet have an air fryer and are not ready to purchase one, know that alternative versions of some traditional fried foods can be prepared in an oven. For example, there are many recipes available for oven-baked crispy chicken, such as this tasty recipe for baked, flaked chicken.

If you think you are ready to try out an air fryer, there are many makes and models of air fryers available for purchase. They can be found at most home and kitchen stores, ranging in cost from $40-$100 for simple, compact models to $250-$400 for larger, multifunctional models. Most air fryers need to be pre-heated for three to five minutes before cooking, and cooking times and temperatures will vary based on recipes created specifically for your fryer. If you want to try to adapt a deep-fryer recipe for air fryer cooking, a good rule of thumb is to decrease the temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit and use a food thermometer to check for doneness five to ten minutes earlier than the recipe recommends.

Cleaning instructions may also vary from one fryer to another, but in general, you will want to clean the interior basket with hot, soapy water and a brush or sponge after each use. A moist kitchen towel can be used on the exterior of the fryer, and a hard-bristled brush can be used to remove any food particles from the cooled heating element.

Have you ever used an air fryer? If so, share your experience by leaving a comment in the box below!

 

Written by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Fayette County, brinkman.93@osu.edu

Sources:

Cooper, E. (2018). Air Fryer: A Healthier Alternative to Oil-Filled Frying. Food and Nutrition Magazine, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. https://foodandnutrition.org/from-the-magazine/air-fryer-healthier-alternative-oil-filled-frying/

Steed, M. (2017). Air Fryers. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. https://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/answerline/2017/09/07/air-fryers/

USDA (2013). Deep Fat Frying and Food Safety.  https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/deep-fat-frying-and-food-safety/ct_index 

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