A New Spin on Fried Foods
By Lee Davis
It’s been called “game changing” by the former President and CEO of McDonald’s, USA.
It’s said to be “a big step toward better health” by the President of the American Council on Science and Health.
It’s been touted as “signature technology” by the former President of ConAgra Foods, Lamb Weston.
Is it Tofu French fries? Sugar free marshmallow Peeps?
No. It’s a revolutionary fryer technology from Spinfresh. It was first introduced at the 2009 National Restaurant Association show in Chicago and subsequently won a coveted Kitchen Innovations Award for 2010. Pitco, a division of The Middleby Corporation picked up the manufacturing contract for Spinfresh in 2010 and added Spinfresh as an upgrade package to their Solstice line of fryers in January of 2012. It is now in production.
The difference in Spinfresh frying is something called “Centrifugal Cooking”. Food is deep fried in a round basket that holds just slightly less than two traditional side-by-side fryer baskets. Once cooked, the basket is raised out of the oil and a spinning mechanism engages the basket. Food spins at a variable combination of speeds (faster for French fries, slower for delicate fish) and times. Excess oil and water spin off the food while convection heat inside the enclosed cooking system continues to cook and crisp the food.
So what’s the advantage? In their test kitchens, up to 48.8% of cooking oil was spun off the food. All that cooking oil is recovered back into the fryer. That conserves oil and saves money on operational costs. Additionally, less energy is required to run the fryer because the enclosed system conserves heat and minimizes recovery cycles. Food that is free of excess oil and water also holds longer, staying crispy longer and minimizing waste.
For consumers, one big advantage is a reduction in calories from fat: up to 38% for French fries, 24% for onion rings, and 16% for chicken wings. According to Steve Spittle, Vice President of Regional Sales for Pitco, it will vary depending on the type of food, the kind of breading used, and the total spin time. Steve added that the additional time required for the typical “spin cycle” is only about 30 seconds.
The ability to add a Spinfresh package to any of Pitco’s 14-inch gas or electric Solstice fryer models is a huge advantage. The only question remaining is whether this technology will be available to deep fry Twinkies at the next county fair?
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