Q: Can I reuse fat or oil after deep-frying with it?
A: Reusing fats and exposing them to air reduces their smoke points, but when properly cared for, oil can be reused at least once. Cool hot oil and pour through a sieve or several layers of cheesecloth into a clean, dry glass or heavy plastic container; cover and refrigerate. Discard oil if the color darkens or if foaming occurs when adding food.
Q: How can I prevent hot oil from spattering and popping when foods are added for frying?
A: Always pat food dry with a paper towel before frying. If adding frozen food or hot oil, ice crystals may cause some spattering. You might want to use a spatter guard or spatter screen that can be placed over the frying pan to catch the spatters. Or use a long-handled skimmer to gently submerge and remove food.
Q: Help! What do I do if the oil catches on fire?
A: If hot fat or oil catches on fire when frying, don’t douse it with water. First, turn off the burners and the range fan. Then, extinguish the fire by carefully sliding a lid over the pan to smother the flames. Or, pour baking soda on the fire until it’s out. If baking soda doesn’t work, go for the fire extinguisher. And always remember, if the fire gets out of control, leave the house and call 911.
Test Kitchen Tip: Shortening or peanut or canola oil are best for deep-frying because each can be heated to a high temperature before it starts smoking.
It’s not hard to fall in love with fried foods. Fried chicken, fried okra, and fried catfish are just a few Southern classics, as well as these mouth-watering Fried Green Tomatoes.
If you’re looking for more frying fun, head on over to our Deep-Fried Fridays section.