Do you have a deep fryer?
I am contemplating getting one. Do you have one? How often do you use it? What do you do with the oil after? I heard you can save it. I imagine myself making tempura, chicken wings, french fries, fried fish... I don't know if its worth getting. Help me decide. Thanks.
I have a deep fryer but I rarely use it. I prefer to deep fry in a turkey fryer or a heavy duty Dutch oven. I keep the oil to use again if it has not burned or hasn't taken on too much of a funky flavor that comes from too much use; filter & store in labled glass or plastic jars once cooled. If I've cooked fish or seafood, I keep separate from oil used to cook neutral items like chicken or breaded veggies.
It's worth getting if you're going to use it on regular basis but I've cooked everything you've mentioned by my alternate method. I won mine in a recipe contest so didn't spend any money.
+1 with Cherylptw. DH bought me one several years back, but I think I have used it twice, and I really don't have the space for a lot of gadgets (I don't even have a food processor yet - go figure). You might be better off investing in a good deep fry thermometer and a deep fry spatula.
I have a delonghi that my wife bought me for valentine's day.
I should disclose that I am an obsessed fried chicken maker.
We live in a small NYC apartment, space is at a premium, so no turkey fryer for me.
After frying, I remove the heating element and after the oil cools, I cover with saran wrap and aluminum foil. It keeps the smell of the oil and associated food inside the fryer. The advantage of the fryer (vs. a skillet) is that since the heat source is just above the bottom of the oil, the bits of batter and fry debris stay on the bottom and don't get sloshed around. It effectively keeps the oil clean without having to strain out the bits.
Eventually the oil does break down and gets too flavored, but no differently than any other system if you're reusing oil. I pour out the oil into empty gallon jugs to recycle, put the bottom sludge into the trash and wash the tank.
I do use a separate frying thermometer, and at least compared to my stove, the electric fryer has a faster recovery (oil temperature returning to temperature after cold food enters the oil).
Also, the fryer has a vented cover with a screened grease trap, so it helps keep the splatter to a minimum.
Every time that the subject comes up in our home, we end up having a wee, um, "discussion". The hubster thinks that it would be a wonderful addition, while I disagree. If I had a huge kitchen, with room to store the damned thing, I'd probably cave.
For now, I deep fry in a massive flat-bottomed, non-stick wok. It's useless to use a wok, but it's dandy for deep frying. The narrow bottom gets the oil heating quickly, and the larger diameter of the upper area gives me a good big surface for frying. If you're going to use a pot of some sort, thing wide and deep. Leave lots of headspace over the oil so that if something bubbles or pops, you won't have an incident on your hands.
I don't use a thermometer, but I've been frying for years, and so I'm confident with my skill level. A trip to Chinatown, or an Asian grocery will thrill you with the vast number of implements for sale, specifically designed to lift food from hot oil.
It's fun, but be safe. And use a thermometer, at least to start. Have a fire extinguisher ready, as well as a lid large enough to clap down on your pot if something goes agley.
I have a Waring Pro. It's a really good fryer with great features and it's a pain in the a...It's big, heavy and difficult to clean. I envisioned myself as you have but it turned out to be so much trouble, I just gave up. If I had it to do over, I would just buy a nice enamel Dutch oven with which I could multitask. As far as the oil, I simply pour it through a coffee filter in a funnel and back into the original container. I then freeze it. I recommend you get a good pot, thermometer and spider.
I had a Cuisinart deep fryer; really liked it. But my wife hates the odor of hot oil in the house so I had to use it outside on the deck and that motivated me to give it to someone else. I still deep fry, but I use my cast iron dutch oven heated on my camp stove (on the same deck) and just don't do it as often as I used to.
Keeping the oil can be difficult. If you cook meat or sea food in the oil it should not be re-used more than, in my experience, twice. Even then, I refrigerate it between uses and if I haven't used it within a month I just toss it out. If I'm deep frying starchy items (donuts, funnel cakes, french fries, etc.) I have been able to keep the oil in the refrigerator for a couple of months. Read what you can find on straining/filtering used oil and storing it. The Internet is full of material on that subject.
If you get a deep fryer, make sure it has a temperature setting capability above 375 degrees. Not that you'll use it, but it gives you greater lattitude at the top end of your temperature control. Most I've used that read "375" never truly reach and maintain that temperature.