Chicken, potatoes, pizza, doughnuts, even vegetables - if it is edible - you can deep-fry it. Deep-frying consists of submerging food into oil at a temperature of 400 degrees or higher. The process is relatively quick and it results in food with a crispy outside and cooked thoroughly on the inside.
Since deep-frying entails cooking with extremely hot oil, it must be executed with caution and diligence. Cooking oil is highly flammable and is a major fire hazard in your home. A common problem with deep-frying is the oil splattering. If the oil touches flames, it will likely ignite a fire. Deep fryer fires cause an average of five deaths, 60 injuries, and over $15 million in property damage each year.
Using an electric deep fryer is recommended as opposed to performing any open pot frying at home. When using an electric deep fryer, always keep a fire extinguisher handy in case something were to ever ignite. If a fire should occur, never use water to extinguish it. If water and oil that is above 350 degrees mix, the water vaporizes and evolves into super-heated steam. It rapidly expands, which causes the oil to splatter and possibly burn someone. If a grease fire occurs, immediately call 911.
To avoid a disastrous situation, it helps to prepare and execute thoroughly. Here are some safety pointers:
- Be sure to purchase an electric deep fryer that comes with a breakaway cord. This helps prevent the fryer from tipping.
- When purchasing the oil, look for either peanut, canola, corn, grape seed, safflower, sunflower or vegetable oil. All of these are safe to use for deep-frying because their “smoke points” are over 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- It is in your best interest to read the directions of the owner’s manual before using your deep fryer for the first time.
- Before filling the deep fryer with oil, make sure it is on the “off” setting, dry, and moved away from water appliances.
- Pat the food dry before frying in order to prevent oil splatter once submerged.
- Equip yourself with long cooking gloves that protect your hands and arms as well as protective eyewear.
- Do not touch the frying basket or add food while it is submerged in the oil. Otherwise, the oil could splatter.
- Do not leave the fryer unattended and keep children free from the kitchen while it is in use.
- Place food onto a plate covered with paper toweling. Insert a clean thermometer into the food to check for accurate temperature.
Always be wary when using an electric deep fryer at home. The risks can be quite costly and hazardous to yourself, others and your home. Follow these tips to help your frying go smoothly.