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Christmas Gift Guide

Use the right oil

Get it hot, hot, hot

​Test with a spoon

​Rinse or soak for crunch

​Dry for safety

Take a break between batches

Don’t spice until the time is right

​Stop breading drop-off

​Drain well

​Start fresh

Oils with a high smoke point are best for frying. The smoke point is the temperature when oil starts to decompose and smoke. When the oil starts to decompose it makes your fried foods taste bad and can even be a fire hazard. Oils with high smoke points include peanut, safflower, sunflower and canola. Lard and vegetable oil has a smoke point of 360 to 370 degrees Fahrenheit (182 to 187 Celsius), so it isn't as good a choice as the other oils listed.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford

If your foods are coming out of the fryer saturated in oil, it's probably because you didn't let it heat the oil up enough. The faster the food cooks, the less oil it absorbs. Put a meat thermometer in the center of the fryer to test how hot the oil is before you add your foods. The oil should be between 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 Celsius) and 440 degrees Fahrenheit (225 Celsius).

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford

Don't have a thermometer? Dip a wooden spoon in the oil. If the oil bubbles around the spoon, it is ready for frying.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford

When you cut foods like potatoes, starchy juices are released. Getting rid off those starches gives you a crunchier texture. Give freshly cut French fries or other starchy foods a good rinse or soak before frying them. Some cooks recommend soaking potatoes and other starchy foods anywhere from 30 minutes to hours in cold water for the perfect crunch. Others recommend rinsing in vinegar or cold water.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford

No matter if you choose to soak or rinse, just make sure to pat your foods dry before you place them in the fryer. Water can make oil pop and explode, which can lead to burns. Cold water also lowers the temperature of the oil.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford

Putting food in a fryer lowers the temperature of the grease. Wait a few minutes for the grease to heat up again before putting in the next batch.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Wait to salt and pepper your foods until they are out of the fryer. If you season foods before you fry, the seasonings will fall off and you'll have burnt seasonings floating in your fryer.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford

Does the breading always fall off of your fried foods? The solution is three-fold. First, you need to coat properly. Dredge your food in flour, then dip it in egg or buttermilk, and then coat it with breadcrumbs. Second, don't touch it while it cooks. Third, use a fry basket or a spatula to remove the food from the oil to avoid tearing the coating.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford

Letting fried foods soak in oil makes them soggy. To prevent limpness, place a cookie sheet next to your deep fryer and set a cooling rack on top. As soon as you take food out of the fryer, place it on the cooking rack. The excess oil will dip down to the cookie sheet and your fried foods will stay crunchy.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford

Some say you can use frying oil over and over again, but for the best results start fresh. Old oil can transfer flavors from the last thing your fried to your new batch. Oil can also become rancid over time. So, after the grease cools toss it and clean out your fryer. Many towns have recycling areas where you can drop off your used cooking grease.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford
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