For Thanksgiving, a Healthier Way to Fry Foods

Bill Weir, C. Michael Kim & David Miller
This Could Be Big

Turkey day is almost here — that magical time in America when the grocery stores and airports overflow with excitement and anxiety — only to conclude with hours on the couch, napping and watching football.

But before the hibernation, even before the pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving is all about turkey. There are endless ways to cook a turkey: most people roast theirs for hours in the oven, some people butterfly it and put it on the grill, and this year Jacque Pepin recommended a steamed turkey, but at This Could Be Big we fry our bird.

The speed, flavor and fresh air - even the calculated risk - make frying a turkey the tastiest way to enjoy the holiday. Sure, deep fried turkey isn't the healthiest option, but it's only once a year.

But what if there was a way to enjoy all the crunch and taste of fried food without the canola oil hot tub?

Purdue University food science Professor Kevin Keener has developed a technique to fry food without all the oil. It's done using a machine called a radiant fryer and he promises that it can lower the amount of oil in your morning hash brown by 30-50%.

Instead of dropping your food into a deep fat fryer, Prof. Keener has developed an oven that emits radiant energy, similar to sunlight or a really strong toaster oven, eliminating much of the oil from your food.

Prof. Keener's radiant fryer doesn't allow you to fry a piece of raw breaded chicken or turned sliced potatoes into French fries. It's only for processed fried foods like those you'd get at McDonalds or the freezer section of your grocery store. That's because processed fried foods are fried twice, once at the factory where it's processed and again before it's served. The radiant fryer would eliminate the second dunking but not the first.

Even though you couldn't use it to fry your Turkey this year, eliminating up to 50% of the oil in fried fast food could be a major breakthrough in eliminating fat and calories in our diets. We spoke with Mr. Keener to learn more about his invention.