Imagine cooking in your kitchen and coming across the dilemma of looking for equipment that can chop, shred, slice, blend, and purée. Exhausted with the impossible idea, you ended up calling food delivery. Here’s a thought: why ruin a memorable dinner when you can have it all? Yes, the answer is a food processor.
What is a Food Processor
A food processor is a kitchen device that performs various food preparation tasks. It is a versatile kitchen tool that makes it easy to create great meals. The term “food processor” is sometimes used to refer to the broader category of electric food processors, such as blenders, juicers, and hand blenders. It typically consists of a motorized base unit with a container or bowl that holds the food, a lid with a feed tube, and various interchangeable blades and attachments.
Food processors play a crucial role in modern kitchens and food industries due to their numerous benefits and contributions to food preparation and processing. Also, they are designed to perform multiple tasks such as chopping, slicing, shredding, kneading, and pureeing. Some models also have additional attachments that allow for even more versatility, such as juicing, grinding, and slicing.
This kitchen tool offers a variety of interchangeable functions for tasks such as chopping onions, grating cheese, and kneading pie crust. Its primary purpose is to minimize food preparation time, with little need to slice or dice food before it enters the feed chute. Food processors can also process wet or dry ingredients.
Things to Remember Before Buying a Food Processor
Food processors come in many different types, with different sizes, styles, and features. Consider all the recipes you plan to cook and the following prep work. The best food processor for you should be chosen based on the capacity and features you need to prepare your recipes and make them easier each time you make a new one.
1. Size and Storage
Consider the available space in your kitchen. If you have limited counter space, look for a compact, easily storable food processor. Also, consider the size of your food processor. While larger models are more practical if you frequently cook for a large group, smaller models may be more suitable for smaller households.
The most typical size ranges from 5 to 11-cup size. When preparing meals for a family of four, the capacity of 10 cups is sufficient. If you love the company of your friends over a sumptuous meal now and then, you can choose the 14-cup capacity.
2. Blade and Motor Power
When choosing a food processor, consider what types of foods you will be preparing most often. If you mostly cut vegetables, you will need a processor with a sharp blade that can handle hard foods. If you use your food processor to make pureed foods or baby food, look for a model with a powerful motor. Further, always opt for stainless steel blades for the best quality.
Check the wattage of the motor. Higher wattage generally means more powerful performance. A powerful engine will handle demanding tasks like kneading dough or chopping hard vegetables more effectively. Food processors are either belt-driven or gear driven. The bowl is above the motor in gear-driven processors, but in belt-driven processors, the bowl is designed away from the motor housing. These units feature single, dual, or variable speed control for various tasks. Most food processors run between 320-350 rpm. The faster the speed, the less accurate the cut.
3. Type of Task and Capacity
For advanced tasks, full-size food processors come with various accessories such as slicing and shredding discs, dough knives, and food tubes of different sizes to process other ingredients, making them ideal for heavy-duty recipes. Adding accessories makes your food processor even more versatile.
You can have a simple food processor, or a chopper, which is excellent for quick and easy jobs. A single-tasking food processor chops, blends, purees, and processes more recipes than you can imagine. No frills, just enough capacity to get the job done right.
4. Ease of Cleaning and Safety Features
Look for a food processor that is easy to disassemble and clean. Dishwasher-safe parts can save time on cleanup. Also, ensure the food processor has safety features like a locking system that prevents the motor from starting unless the bowl and lid are appropriately secured. This is very important, especially if you have toddlers around.
5. Warranty and Replacement
Always check the warranty period provided by the manufacturer. An extended warranty period indicates confidence in the quality of the product. Meanwhile, to prepare for future problems, inquire about the availability of replacement parts in case any component needs to be replaced or repaired.
6. Brand and Customers Review
Take into consideration highly rated brands with good customer reviews. Reading other user reviews will give insight into the performance and reliability of the food processor you are considering.
Finally, you should consider your budget when choosing a food processor. There are models in different price ranges. Therefore, finding one that fits your needs and budget is crucial. Set a budget and find a food processor that tops your needs within that price range. Consider the long-term use and durability of the product rather than just the initial cost. Considering these factors will help you find the best food processor for your kitchen.
Types of Food Processors
With so many different models and types on the market, knowing which suits you and your needs can take time and effort. Here is a helpful guide to the four main types of food processors available to help you make the best decision for your kitchen.
1. Small Food Processors (Choppers)
Smaller and more compact than a full-size food processor, the mini food processor is perfect for processing small amounts of food. Ideal for chopping herbs, making small sauces and dips, and grinding spices. Remember that these tiny devices, with roughly 3-5 cups capacity, are not strictly food processors but choppers. This is due to food processors’ lack of feed tubes for cutting, shredding, etc. But never let the size fool you; these food shredders can still do much.
2. Large Food Processors
It is the most common type of food processor and is typically used for everyday food preparation tasks such as chopping, slicing, grating, blending, and puree. It comes with various attachments and interchangeable blades to perform different functions.
With a capacity of 6 to 14 cups, a large food processor can do everything a small food processor can, like mixing and pureeing. But there is much more you can do. Add to that the ability to not only slice and grate but even knead and dice, and you have one of the most versatile kitchen tools in your house.
3. Multi-Function Food Processor
These food processors have additional features beyond just chopping and slicing. It may contain special attachments for squeezing juice, kneading dough, whipping cream, and making nut butter.
Some multi-functional food processors include citrus juicers with citrus juicing attachments to extract juice from citrus fruits like oranges and lemons. At the same time, another function features a blender-food processor combo that combines the features of a blender and a food processor into one unit, allowing you to switch between blending and food processing tasks easily.
4. Handheld Food Processor
A handheld food processor, also known as an immersion blender with a chopper attachment, is a multi-functional handheld device that allows you to blend, mince, and puree directly in a pot, bowl, or container; especially great for soups and sauces.
A spiralizer is not a traditional food processor but a device to shape vegetables into spirals like pasta. Some food processors may have a spiral attachment for added functionality.
Functions of Food Processors
Here are various ways you can use a food processor:
1. Grinding and Crushing
Grind nuts, seeds, and spices to make nut butter, spice blends, or homemade flours. Not just that, you can also grind meat when the need arises.
2. Pureeing and Blending
Create smooth, creamy purees from cooked vegetables, fruits, and beans. You can also blend ingredients for soups, sauces, and smoothies.
3. Chopping, Dicing, and Grating
A food processor’s chopper blade lets you quickly chop onions, garlic, carrots, celery, and other vegetables. Also great for dicing fruits and vegetables for salads and recipes. Also, you can grate fresh coconut for various recipes or desserts.
Easily shred cheese, vegetables, or fruits to use in recipes or as toppings. A food processor completes this task in just seconds.
5. Whipping and Making Dough
Some food processors have a whipping function that can be used to whip nut butter, egg, or cream. Also, some food processors come with a dough blade, which can be used to knead and mix bread, pizza dough, or pastry dough.
6. Making Side Dishes and Dips
Food processors quickly prepare salsa, pesto, or other dips and spreads using the food processor’s chopping and blending functions. If you prefer a more sumptuous but healthy meal, a food processor can make veggie dishes in just a few minutes.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using Food Processors
1. Differentiating food processor from blender
Kitchen tasks such as making liquid condiments should be typically created in a blender.
2. Not cutting ingredients to the correct size
Large chunks of food can strain the processor and lead to uneven results. Cut ingredients into smaller, manageable pieces before processing. Yes, food processors are magical and lifesaving. Still, cutting the vegetables into even sizes is essential to ensure consistency. Also, you want to keep the processor manageable by adding too much material.
3. Ignoring the motor’s capacity and letting the motor overheat
Each food processor has a specific capacity and performance. Many recipes require a lot of work by the processor, and that’s okay. However, attempting to process large or hard materials beyond the machine’s capabilities can damage the motors and components. Also, give your handheld device a break now and then to let it cool down.
4. Over processing or under processing (Pulse Option)
If processed quickly, the ingredient can become pasty, while little time can chop unevenly. Find the right balance and pulse your food processor to achieve your desired texture. Knowing that the pulse button is the key to different functions is essential. Press and hold the button to puree the contents.
5. Neglecting cleaning and maintenance
Failing to clean the food processor properly after each use can result in lingering odors, stains, and bacteria growth. Regular maintenance, such as blade sharpening or replacement, will ensure optimal performance.
A food processor is a multi-purpose kitchen equipment that can save time and effort when preparing meals. By investing in a good quality food processor, one can enjoy the convenience of quickly and efficiently chopping, grating, dicing, and pureeing various foods.
Remember, to increase speed and efficiency, take note of the standard method of using and cleaning food processors. Since these units can perform various tasks such as chopping, dicing, crushing, slicing, grating, grating, pureeing, and emulsifying, always read the manual for the proper ways to ensure the device’s longevity.