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We’re all passionate consumers of fried foods, whether we’d like to admit it or not. Donuts, fried chicken, churros, french fries, whatever the delicacy is, they’re the best when they’re fresh out of the fryer.
But sometimes, you’re left with a bunch of soggy leftovers, remnants of your crispy dinner the previous night, and other times, the takeaway dish turns into a sad mess in just 5 minutes, which isn’t very appetizing. In some cases, even when just a couple of minutes out of the fryer, fried foods can lose the crunch and transform into a disaster if not stored properly.
Fortunately, there are some neat tips and tricks that we’ve learned to keep that satisfying crunch alive a bit longer, so keep reading to find out the best ways to keep that crunch crunching.
Why Fried Food Gets Soggy in the First Place
When fried food is taken out of your home fryer, most of it is full of steam. The food is piping hot, moist on the inside, and crispy on the outside. That excess moisture inside will evaporate in the form of steam and turn into the water if there’s nowhere else to escape. In other words, if you pack it in an airtight container, as many of us do when we’re in a rush.
The key to keeping fried foods crispy after removing them from the fryer is finding a way to ventilate that excess steam. If the fried food isn’t properly ventilated, the steam will cause all that crispy goodness to become soggy and unappetizing.
In plain terms, water and heat are the main enemies of crispy foods. The best way to keep the crunch crunching is to cool the food down while not allowing the steam to turn into water on top of the crispy layer and ruin it.
Learn From the Crispy Food Masters
Before you’ve cooked your own fried food, you must have visited some well-known crispy food restaurants for a dine-in or a takeaway meal. Well, the emphasis is on the takeaway meal. During our research, we visited crispy fried food specialists like KFC and Popeyes and looked at their delivery methods.
KFC delivers their meals in cardboard buckets with holes on top to let out the steam coming from their famed Kentucky fried chicken, while Popeyes uses cardboard boxes with big holes on every side. These packaging methods make good use of two important factors – ventilation and absorption.
When fried food leaves the fryer, it releases moisture in the form of steam, so it’s very important to make sure there’s space for it to escape and not condense and turn into water.
So, let’s say you’re making tomorrow’s dinner and frying something tasty. The best way to prevent your fresh-out-of-the-fryer crispy food from getting soggy is to place it on a cooling wire rack until it has cooled off instead of sealing it in a container while it’s still hot.
If you absolutely have to pack it while steaming hot, it’s best to use a container with holes. The smell of fried food might fill your car or your fridge with its unmistakable aroma and make you salivate, but it will be worth it when you finally taste the goodness.
Absorption plays a key role as well when it comes to perfect crispness. When you remove your food from the fryer, it’s best to lay it on top of some paper towels or even a kitchen cloth. If you want to take your food on the go, you can place paper towels on the bottom of your ventilation container.
Why is this recommended? Well, since the moisture from the hot food will condense on the sides of your container, you need something to absorb the unwanted moisture and prevent it from making the edge of your crisp soggy, and a paper towel does just that. Remember, better to have a soggy paper towel than soggy fried food.
How to Actually Keep Fried Food From Getting Soggy
Now that you’ve learned what the fried food giants do to keep the crisp crisping, let’s see some other methods for preventing your next meal from getting soggy.
Fried food doesn’t get soggy when it’s reasonably cooled down before it’s stored in any container. If you need to take crispy fried food on the go, the best way is to let it cool on a rack for at least half an hour before putting it in a container. The cooling mechanics will not allow steam to form on the crispy bits, and you can always reheat crispy food when you’ve reached your destination.
One way to keep crispy food fresh at home can be by placing it on a wire rack and keeping it in the oven on low heat. When you’re on the go, though, this effect can be emulated in your container by placing a pizza stone or some other passive heating item. The pizza stone combined with a well-ventilated container lined with paper towels or cloths will ensure that your fried food will stay warm and crispy wherever you take it, like your office, for example.
Just imagine how stunned your coworkers would be when you whip out a piece of fresh, hot, and crispy chicken for lunch despite the long trip from home. Well, it’s a secret only you know!
Preventing Soggy Takeout Food
Many places that serve fried takeout food will most likely pack it in a styrofoam container. The styrofoam container is great for keeping food warm, but it makes it soggy in just a couple of minutes. If you’re planning to order takeaway, it’s best to invest in vented Tupperware container. It’s not the most practical solution, but it’s perfect for preserving the crispiness.
With that being said, vacuum-sealed containers should have no business with hot crispy food. Remember our trick with the paper towels on the bottom? Exactly! It’s to ensure that the crispness stays intact, so make sure to do this. Tupperware containers are also a great choice as they don’t pollute the environment like single-use styrofoam containers that soggy up your food.
Wrapping Crispy Food
If you’ve prepared different fried foods like french fries, onion rings, and a couple of churros for the sweet tooth but only have one container, then you have no choice but to wrap them up separately. Wrapping food is a great way to separate fragrances and flavors, but the most common mistake you can make is to wrap your food too tightly.
There is a common misconception that wrapping food tightly will keep it warm and fresh, and while it’s true to some extent, it doesn’t apply to crispness. If you want to retain that crispy edge and moist center, you must wrap your food very lightly. Tight wraps only seal the moisture inside the food, and after a few minutes, you’ll end up with multiple soggy dishes. Wrap the food lightly, and make sure you use a vented container. Cooling your fried food for a couple of minutes before wrapping will also help you retain a crispy bite
Following that, most people make mistakes when choosing the wrong wrapping material. Plastic or aluminum-based wrappers can create moisture that will soggy up your crispy food in no time. They are great for retaining heat but not so good at retaining a crisp. As we mentioned before, crispy food can be reheated but not de-soggyfied, so if you want your crisp to last, you should only wrap crispy foods in paper wrappers.
The Way to Keep Fried Food Crispy
Like it or not, the best way to enjoy your fried foods is to eat them fresh out of the fryer while they’re still crispy. Fresh crispy food is a delight to eat while it’s sizzling, but sometimes we don’t have the luxury of time, and we have to take our food on the go or store the leftovers for the following day.
Storing is crucial for keeping the crisp from becoming a soggy mess, so remember to store your food in ventilated containers lined with paper towels or kitchen cloths to keep the moisture away from the crispy bits.
Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind that crispy food can be reheated, but there is no way to get that crisp back if it becomes soggy. If you keep to our guide on perfectly retaining a crispy bite when transporting or storing crispy food, then you’ll bite into a satisfying crispy piece of food.
what kind of a container is this?
Plastic container with vents to let the steam out.