How Air Fryers Keep Kitchens Cool During Summer
Summer cooking can be murder. Ovens and stoves generate a lot of heat, and as days grow longer and temperatures climb, they can make cooking an extremely hot and uncomfortable activity. The heat can also leak out into the adjoining rooms, interfering with the thermostat and forcing your air conditioner to work harder into order to maintain the desired temperature. Kitchens in small apartments can be even worse because they're offset from the main living space, away from the air conditioner, which makes them difficult to cool. The problem can become so bad that people either stop baking and switch to cold foods, like salads or sandwiches, for the summer, or confine their cooking to late night or early morning, when temperatures are at their lowest. But there's another solution. Switch to an air fryer. Air fryers are the perfect way to keep your kitchen cool. They can prepare the same food as your oven or stove, but in less time, with less heat. The can grill, bake, roast, and fry all of your summertime favorites: French fries, hamburgers, and fried chicken. They're are a four-in-one solution to the problems of summer cooking.
Cooking with Conventional Ovens
Conventional ovens are heated from below using a either electric coils or a gas burner. They're connected to a set of copper wires, which act as a temperature gauge and triggers the thermostat whenever the temperature controls have been adjusted or when the internal temperature dips too low. As the electric coils or gas burner heats up, they emit infrared radiation (heat) that gets absorbed by your food and gradually cooks it. The leftover radiation gets absorbed by the rest of the oven: the grills, the racks, the walls, and the doors. This excess heat is eventually works its way through the oven's structure and is transferred out into your kitchen through the process of convection. The air in direct contact with the oven heats up and expands, which draws in more air that also heats up and expands. The longer the oven is on, the more intense this process becomes. The same principle applies to stovetop cooking as well. Most of the heat from the burners is absorbed by your pots and pans, but enough escapes in order to raise the room's air temperature. If you're boiling water or frying food, you'll also be increasing the ambient humidity. Humidity interferes with your body's natural cooling mechanisms and exacerbates the effects of heat stress. In a closed environment like a kitchen, it can accumulate quickly and make summertime conditions even more unbearable.
Cooking with Air Fryers
Unlike conventional ovens, which rely on a single method of heat transfer, air fryers use two: radiation and convention. When you turn it on, a stainless steel heating coil above the cooking basket gets activted and starts radiating heat down onto the food, like a broiler. At the same time, a convection fan above the heating coil starts blowing air down over the heating coil and through the basket. As the hot air passes over the food, it cooks it and extracts the oil from it as well. This get caught in the downward airflow and gets pulled down into the bottom of the cooking pan. The air is then redirected back up the sides of the basket to the fan again, cooking your food from every angle as it goes. A double layer of insulation around the cooking space keeps the trapped inside and prevents it from seeping out into your kitchen. A very small amount of hot air is vented through the back of the fryer to relieve pressure, otherwise the system is almost entirely sealed.
Advantages Over Conventional Ovens
This double heating technique is known as forced convection. Natural convection occurs when air comes into contact with a heat source and expands. The expanding air rises and the colder air above it sinks down to replace it. The process repeats itself until eventually all of the air has been heated to a single, uniform temperature. This is what happens when kitchen air comes into contact with your oven walls and door. The thin layer of air right against the oven gets heated, rises, and replaced by cooler air from above. Air is actually a poor conductor of heat. That's why it's necessary to pre-heat ovens, why oven cook times are so long, and why oven air inside doesn't burn you when you open the door. Forced convection counter balances the mechanisms of natural convection with an outside force that causes air to absorb and impart heat more quickly than it would otherwise.
By circulating the air with the fan, hot air fryers bring it into repeated contact with the heating coil so it heats up and imparts heat to your food faster than any natural process. Convection and heating is also intensified by the fryer's compact heating space. While the average oven has 2-4 cubic feet of volume, the typical air fryer has less than one cubic foot of volume. The small space lets the food rest close to the heating coil, so it absorbs the infrared radiation faster, and it means very little air is required in order to cook it. It also means the preset temperature is reached faster, pre-heating times are lower, and the heat can circulate through the unit faster. Forced convection also means the food is bombarded with heat from multiple directions and so it requires less energy to cook all the way through. This form of heat transfer is far more intense than what's possible with a conventional oven, which is why air fryers are able to achieve the same results in less time and at lower temperatures.
|Conventional Oven||Air Fryer|
|Food||Cooking Time||Temperature||Cooking Time||Temperature|
|Frozen French Fries||22 Min.||450°F||20 Min.||392°F|
|Potato Wedges||30 Min.||400°F||20 Min.||392°F|
|Pork Chops||30-60 Min.||350°F||15-20 Min.||356°F|
|Hamburgers||30 Min.||450°F||10 Min.||356°F|
|Chicken Drum Sticks||25 Min.||375°F||22 Min.||356°F|
|Chicken Breasts||20 Min.||450°F||18 Min.||356°F|
|Chicken Nuggets||20 Min.||400°F||10 Min.||392°F|
|Fish Sticks||17 Min.||425°F||10 Min.||392°F|
Time, temperature, and surface area are what determine how much heat gets transferred from your oven into your kitchen. Shorter cooking times, less temperature, and fewer points of contact are why air fryers have the edge when it comes to summer cooking.
Arguably, the best feature of cool summer kitchen air fryers is that they still let you cook all of your favorite meals, and maybe even a few new ones. With the air fryer accessory pack, you can cook quiches, omelets, salmon croquettes, papadums, prawn toast, duck pies, calamari, parsnips, tofu balls, and sweet potato risotto in addition to all of your other summertime favorites. There's nothing you can do with your oven that you can't do just as well with an air fryer. Just put in your food, set the temperature, adjust the timer, and walk away. Once the time is done the heater shuts off so nothing overheats. You'll have a hot summer meal ready in thirty minutes that won't cause you to break a sweat.