10 Nov 2013

How To Fry Safely at Home

I own a takeaway.
Have I mentioned that?
I own a takeaway.
And a bakery but let's concentrate on the takeaway side for now shall we?

When we first took over the takeaway, I had never fried anything in my life. I was shit scared of that deep fryer and I quivered in my boots every time I was asked for a serving of chips. Now I'll quite happily plonk anything in there as long as you're paying me.
But most people at home don't have that kind of experience and aren't asked for chips all day every day so I've put together a little list of things that will help you at home when you're frying things up.



Tip 1: Know your heat.

You don't just turn the knob up to high and hope for the best. You'll need to know a little bit more about oil temperatures than that my friends.
You should be using a frying oil that suits. Olive oil looks great on salads but you're not going to fry your chips in it because it will burn very quickly. Go for a good quality oil like canola which is a healthy oil as far as oils go and it can stand much higher temperatures.
You want to fry at a temperature of between 160 degrees C and 170 degrees C. You will need to heat the oil up slowly. If your fryer has a melt function then you can turn it up to 160 on melt and it will heat it slowly, otherwise, turn it up by 30-40 degrees at a time.
And remember, if your oil is black and smoking, it's definitely time to change it. That's the safe thing to do.

Tip 2: Be prepared.

When there is hot oil involved you really don't want to be rushing around like a chicken without a head because someone will get hurt. That's why it's important that you get prepared beforehand so you're ready for any situation.
For example fill the sink with cold water in case you burn yourself.
Have something on hand to fish anything and everything out of the oil. Small sieves work very well, but fish slices, slotted spoons and other long, metal things work well.
Have an extra bowl on hand to pop all the extra bits of batter into. They will float away and you will need somewhere to put them.
Plug the fryer into a socket that is easily accessible. Not behind the microwave or under that really heavy thing that you can't move easily when your oil is bubbling over.
Make sure you have something for your fried food to drain on and that it's easily reachable. A line of slippery oil all over the floor will not go down well when you're pacing back and forth.

Tip 3: Don't get fried before you fry.


Have you seen the NZ Fire Department's adverts? Don't drink and fry my friend!
You'll need to be aware of everything while you fry so you don't accidentally set fire to your kitchen, your hair and your dog.
Don't leave anything flammable near the area you'll be working in and ask all kids to leave the room. If you have a pet that likes to run around the kitchen like a loon, try to keep them in a separate room while using the deep fat fryer.
And if you live with someone, let them know what you're doing because if you need to be rushed to hospital, they'll probably be the one doing the driving. If you do live alone, keep a phone where you can get to it in case you need to dial the emergency number.

Tip 4: Watch the water content of your food.

Your food should have as little water as possible when you fry. Water and oil don't mix and that means it will spit and cover you in oil.
Did you know that more injuries are caused by incorrectly defrosted turkeys than anything else at Thanksgiving every year? Why? Because if it's still got a high water content, you pop it in the oil and BOOM! It explodes. And that shit hurts.
Drain whatever you're frying, make sure it's defrosted properly and you can even dry pat items with kitchen towel if you're really worried.
And make sure you don't over fill your oil vats. Remember that when you pop items into the oil, the level will rise so you don't want too much in there. And if the water content is too high, the oil will bubble over the sides and cause injury.

Tip 5: Know the manual.

Please consult your deep fat fryer's manual before you use it. That's pretty important too because every deep fat fryer is different and because they're not normally used every day in households, you may not be aware of certain features and precautions. Also, make sure your cables, wires and parts are all in working order before you begin to fry.
If the cable looks a bit frayed and dodgy, don't use it. Rather safe than sorry.

So that's all I have to add to this topic. I hope you fry safe!

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