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Fryers, Grills & Slow Cookers Buying Guide
Deep fat fryers, grills and slow-cookers give you the freedom to cook different types of meal independently from your main cooker. Compare the various appliances and features of each cooking appliance before you buy.
Fryers, Grills And Slow Cookers
Deep Fat Fryers
Deep fat fryers allow safe cooking of deep-fried foods, in a self-contained cooking chamber.
There are a number of advantages to using a deep fat fryer instead of cooking deep-fried foods in a pan on the hob. The main benefit is safety, as fryers have built-in thermostats to prevent over-heating of oil. Deep fat fryers also have a locking lid, so the hot oil required for cooking is not as exposed.
Portable electric grills have become a popular way to grill food.
The great advantage of using this type of grill is that it excess fats and grease from cooking are drawn away from the food during cooking. Surplus oil and fat is usually channelled out of the grill into a separate container. This means healthier, lower-fat food and no messy cooker grill pan to clean up.
A slow cooker is a counter-top cooking device designed for making stews, casseroles and soups, or any other kind of 'slow cook' foods.
The cooker can be set to start and end cooking at pre-set times, so you can prepare meals in advance, and use the slow cooker to perfectly time your meal. Using a separate cooker rather than a casserole pan in the oven or on a hob means you can cook this type of food independently from any other dishes you may be cooking.
A steamer is a device which allows you to cook food in a healthy and nutritious way. Water is stored in the base of the steamer which heats up when turned on to create steam. This steam rises up through the device and cooks your food, retaining the majority of the food's goodness as it does. Boiling food in water takes away many of the essential vitamins and minerals in food, steaming does not. The best foods to cook in steamers are fish and vegetables as they are both high in nutrients, which won't be lost during the cooking process. Steamers are generally tiered, meaning you can cook a variety of food in one go. The tiered design of steamers also allows for easy and convenient storage.
Pressure cookers are designed to cook food in a shorter period of time than conventional cooking methods. Generally, they are pot shaped and come with a lockable lid. This lid builds up pressure inside the cooker resulting in shorter cooking times and therefore decreased fuel costs. The lid also prevents steam from escaping, creating extra moisture inside the cooker, which is great for tenderising meat. Pressure cookers are fantastic for cooking foods such as soup, broth and stews as they bind ingredients together superbly and tenderise meat to perfection.
Mini ovens are the ideal cooking appliance for student bedrooms, caravans, bedsits and any other room with limited space. Most mini ovens offer the same functionality as conventional ovens, the only difference being they are designed to cook much smaller food. The majority of mini ovens come with an integrated grill and a hot plate, which is usually located on the top of the device. The grill is great for cooking cheese on toast and the hot plate can be used in the same manner as a hob, allowing you to cook food in pans.
Air Fryers/Health Fryers
Air fryers provide us with a healthier way to fry our food. Hot air circulates inside the fryer to cook the food, whilst an integrated grilling element adds a crisp finish. Air fryers generally only require one tablespoon of oil, meaning some foods can contain up to 80% less fat than foods that are fried in a traditional manner. Air fryers are extremely efficient; a portion of French fries could be ready in as little as 12 minutes.
Griddle pans are flat metal surfaces which you can use to bake or fry food. Generally, they are available in 2 styles: smooth or with raised ridges. Griddle pans with raised ridges are usually used for searing fish, sizzling meat and grilling vegetables as they leave grill marks. Smooth griddles can be used for frying eggs and bacon and grilling pancakes. If you're using an electric griddle pan, then it can be used independently on your kitchen counter, however, if you're using a non-electric griddle pan, then you'll have to put it over your stove or hob.