By Nathalie Emanuel, Head of Independent Living Skills
Everyone is buying an air fryer and raving about what they can do.
As a department, we think they are super but you have to know what you are wanting to buy.
Let’s start at the beginning. What is an air fryer?
It is basically a small fan oven that sits on the worktop. Some can rotate, some have one drawer and some have two drawers.
The main benefits of an air fryer are that they cook quickly and use energy efficiently. For people with a vision impairment, there are additional advantages such as adding and removing items from the air fryer being easy!
As with any electrical domestic product, when it comes to using it as a person with a vision impairment, we need to consider accessibility. Some air fryers have apps which mean you can use a smart device such as a tablet or phone to control the settings simply by using wireless connection, with voice assistant and tapping to control time and the temperature. These come with some pre-programmed times and temperatures for items such as chips, chicken and cake – yes! You can make cake in an air fryer.
If you like the sound of this, then the Proscenic air fryer is for you – but it is quite noisy and has a large capacity. The controls are touch but can be easily adapted with Bumpons too.
If you are catering for one, then the Tower with a single drawer is a super choice. The dial for controlling the temperature and time can again be easily adapted by using Bumpons.
An idea could be to use a Bumpon for the most popular temperature of 180, and then using a smart speaker or phone timer to control the length of time.
Most Tower air fryers have the options of small and large capacity so for example the 4 litre and 7 litre.
Actifry has dual use as it can be used as an air fryer, but also has a paddle so that you can stir foods such as chilli for example!
Again some models have buttons for timers and temperature, others have touch screen controls and programmes for favourite items.
The newer models can be washed in the dishwasher. The ones we have used in our Independent Living Skills department are really easy to clean by hand washing and wiping out with kitchen roll.
So what can we cook?
Anything that is cooked in the oven or on a contact grill can be cooked in the air fryer.
When cooking toasties, sausages, bacon, hash browns or chips for example, no extra oil needs to be added.
If making our own wedges or chips then a tsp of oil is all that is required.
Chips and sausages takes 15 minutes.
Anything breaded or battered such as fish or chicken can be cooked. Uncoated chicken breast or fish can be cooked. We have used baking paper under the breasts or fillets to make removal even easier.
Roasted vegetables and sweet potato wedges are fabulous.
Why would you recommend an air fryer?
- Easy to use whether using a voice assistant app or using Bumpons.
- Less access issues with hot shelves and baking trays than oven.
- Removal of items relatively easy as they can be shaken out or use of tongs or fish slice.
- Easy to clean
- Cheap to use
- Quick to cook.
Lots of social media are sharing success stories and recipes. There are many recipes online and many of the main recipe sources are sharing how you can swap the oven for the air fryer – so they really are becoming a household essential!
- It can be difficult with one drawer air fryers to cook more than one item e.g. fish portion and roasted vegetables
- You will need to borrow someone’s eyes if you are a person with a VI to add Bumpons.
- If you are a family make sure you get the capacity of the drawer correct!