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A mister is a pump or sprayer that can be used in many cooking applications to reduce the amount of liquids added to foods by spraying them over foods in a fine mist. Particularly popular are misters into which you can place your favorite oils, or even vinaigrettes so that you can mist pans (much as you’d use nonstick cooking sprays) or salads, meats, and vegetables. Each mister is different so amount of oil delivered can be variable, but it is generally much less than that you would add if you poured oil from a bottle. You can also use a mister with flavored oils to add a little flavor and fat to a dish while still keeping calorie content low.
Popularity of the mister, also simply used for water for some dishes where a light application of water is required, has led to numerous companies creating their own “mists” to be applied to salads. Unlike the mister you’d purchase in a kitchen supply store, these are pre-filled with various ingredients and can impart light flavor to a dish. Many of these pre-filled types contain some sort of salad dressing or flavored oil, and it’s touted that “misting” foods will reduce calorie content. This largely depends upon how much you plan to mist your foods. See serving size directions to find out how many “mists” are considered a serving.
The simplest mister is merely the good old standby of a water bottle with a spray pump. These are usually made of plastic and can be purchased for less than a US Dollar (USD). These may not work well with oil, which may end up clogging the pump. Additionally, mist produced may not be very fine.
For oils, consider stainless steel mister types that are meant to handle the higher viscosity of oil. They often have a pump pressurizing system, which keeps the mist nice and light. These tend to cost anywhere from about $10-20 USD and are available at kitchen supply stores, and a number of online cooking and cooking supply sites. Pre-filled misters are available in local grocery stores.