Why Vacuum-Frying is Way Healthier Than it Sounds?
Let’s face it, at every gathering or celebration, we look forward to having some indulgent deep-fried foods!
That euphoric feeling we get from munching on a crispy crunchy treat, is simply irresistible!
However, it is a well-established fact that fried foods are unhealthy for us. So is there a way to continue indulging deep-fried foods without the negative consequences?
Welcome to the realm of vacuum-frying!
What is Vacuum-Frying?
"Vacuum-frying is a much better and healthier alternative to conventional-frying and it is the closest way to get the same great addictive taste and texture we crave for with unhealthy snacks."
Vacuum-frying may sound like we’re trying to fry our fruits and vegetables in space, but that’s the originating idea behind this amazing method!
Fruits and vegetables contain about 80-95% of water content. To make them crispy, we need to “force” the moisture out. Conventional methods like deep-frying, air-frying and baking require high heat of between 180-300ºC to boil off the moisture in the ingredients, but this is not required for vacuum-frying.
Imagine climbing a mountain to about 4,000m level and you start prepping your meal by boiling a pot of water. The water starts bubbling and you drop your food in. However, your food takes a long time to cook even though the water is visibly boiling. Just what is going on?!
This has to do with the atmospheric pressure. At high altitudes, the air is thinner and water reaches boiling point at a lower temperature. Similarly, vacuum-frying uses very low (near vacuum) air pressure to ‘trick’ the ingredients to removing its moisture content away at low temperatures.
There are so many benefits to this dehydration technology that even NASA uses it to prepare foods for its astronauts in SPACE! Here are some of the top benefits of this dehydration method.
1. Low temperature retains heat-sensitive nutrients from the original natural ingredients
Studies have shown that high heat is the main culprit for the degradation of vitamins and other heat-sensitive nutrients in foods. So food producers that process their foods in the conventional methods would usually have to add synthetic nutrients back to fortify their products with healthy attributes.
The vacuum-frying method, on the other hand, is able to retain most of the original nutrients of the fruits and vegetables and locking in the health benefits of the snack. This is due to the removing of moisture at a controlled and lower temperature of between 60-80ºC, hence minimizing the damage done to the essential nutrients.
Now that’s a snack that your mum can’t say is not good for you!
2. A snack made from 100% real ingredients, without any ‘badditive’
Natural colours of vacuum-fried produce. Image credits: Food Network
We all can’t get enough of crispy deep-fried foods that taste just so awesome. Imagine taking the first crunchy bite, and savouring the food as it slowly melts from a tasty sensation into a mixture of delicious and oil-infused flavours. Sadly, when we try to eat healthy with cleaner ingredients and healthier cooking methods, this sensation is often lost completely, leaving a bland and dull ‘snack’. If you are making some dehydrated fruits and vegetables, freeze-dried or air-dried chips seem to be healthier options, but they all tend to be duller.
All is not lost! In vacuum-frying, we can recreate the same decadent crunch with real slices of natural ingredients. Vacuum-frying also reduces the retention of oil in the chips by over 80% compared to conventionally-fried chips. With just a dash of healthy plant oil (1–2%), vacuum-frying can preserve the tastiness, crunchiness and healthiness of the chips!
3. Say “No” to oxidative browning and carcinogens
Deep-fried snacks are characterised by a dark brown hue because oil oxidises at very high temperatures. At around 200ºC, the heat will cause the oil to break down into unstable chemicals, and these chemicals are the root cause of the health problems such as heart diseases and cancer.
Due to the low temperatures involved in the vacuum-frying process, the oil does not have an opportunity to break down into its carcinogenic components.
Don’t the vibrant natural colours of the fruits and vegetables just look more appetising than deep-fried foods?
Check out the characteristics of various food preparation methods:
Look at the drastic difference!
Apart from looking beautiful and tastefully inviting, vacuum-fried chips also present a plethora of healthful benefits. Granted, this has to work together with selecting the right oils with good (unsaturated) fatty acids and high smoke points. Plant-based oils like almond, coconut, rice-bran, and olive oils are by far some of the healthiest oils we should be including in our daily diets.
Contrary to common beliefs, healthy oils are good for us if used naturally and sparingly. Selecting healthy oils in conjunction with the right heating method can actually aid in weight loss and boost our overall health.
“Conventionally-fried foods are known to be the culprit to a number of health issues such as obesity, cholesterol and heart problems. Vacuum-fried foods, on the contrary, can be good for our health as the oil is not oxidised and destroyed at high temperatures.”
We all want to live healthy, but we also crave crispy fried foods all the time. If we look at how healthy foods work, it is often impossible to get the best of both worlds. Compared to eating fresh fruits and vegetables, vacuum-fried snacks are undeniably less healthy, but if we compare with the majority of the snacks and biscuits, vacuum-fried snacks might be the best thing there is.
Having the irresistible crunch, the fragrance of healthy oil, and the clean taste of real fruits and vegetables, vacuum-fried snacks taste just as great as deep-fried but without the bad carcinogenic stuff. Do not deny yourself of life’s greatest enjoyment!
Remember: BEFORE your next urge to snack kicks in, as you are walking down the supermarket aisles, choose your snacks wisely and remember to read the food labels! If you see anything in the ingredient list you cannot recognise, drop the snack and RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!