In this modern time, when our free-time frame is narrow down significantly, a food processor is one of the best workhorses in any kitchen.
Whether it’s a dinner or holiday kind of cook, the best food processor helps you prepare food more quickly and expand the variety of recipes you can tackle, which leads to a great improvement of your cooking quality.
But, a common matter when it comes to food processor is people misunderstanding it with a blender which usually has the same outer performance. So, how to distinguish these two machines?
Another issue: There’re a lot of food processors on the market and which is the best option for you? What to consider to choosing the most suitable food processor for you? Here, in this article, I will give you an ultimate guide.
What is a Food Processor? Food Processor Uses
The term “food processor” refers to a multifunctional electric-motor-driven kitchen appliance to help you out with food preparation while cooking.
More detail, it’s able to grind things like crackers, meatloaf and bread crumbs; preparing purees as baby food; slicing food and vegetables for salads; whipping salad dressing; mixing and kneading bread dough for sandwiches and pizzas and grating blocks of cedar and pepper jack cheeses for nachos.
You can write off food processor’s functions as big timesaver.
Aside from its versatility, a food processor also brings you many other benefits, such as:
- Easy to use, handle and
- Not occupy much space in your kitchen area as well as storage space, even make your cooking space look more modern
- Can be used as a food mixer or process spices so that you don’t need to buy it anymore
- Help to try various cooking and baking recipes
- Energy saving
- Easily couple its parts based on the instructional material coming with the machine
- Affordable price to save you a lot of money
It’s funny but true that if you still keep presenting the same-old dishes, the same-old aroma and tastes day after day, your family or your customers will one day make a strike action against you.
So, no matter what kind of your cook is, for family cook only or serve for a restaurant, I sincerely advise you to opt for a suitable food processor if you can. Once getting it in your kitchen space, you’ll regret not buying it sooner.
How does it work
In general, a food processor includes:
- Blender jars
- Dry-grinding jar
- Wet drinking jar
- Dough maker attachments
- Citrus press
- Shredding discs
- Slicing discs
- Locking collar ring
- Jar with chopping blades
- Slip-proof feet
- Speed settings
- Impact-resistant plastic housing
The reason why I told you that a food processor can take the role of a mixer is because of its interchangeable blade that slices and chops food. A good thing is that you can adjust its speed to get a mixture that’s as fine as your desire.
Once operating, the blade will be spinning to cut foods in the bowl which is also attached an airtight lid to prevent them from pouring out.
Other than that, there are shredding and slicing discs to serve your demand of food preparation. Another plus point is its feeder tube coming up with wide mouth to help you easily adding foods while pureeing, chopping, mincing and grinding.
How to Use a Food Processor
This is also the major function of a food processor.
When processing food, you need to know that some recipes require blending all the ingredients at once while the others ask you to add one at a time. Take it note to get the best processed food.
But once start the machine, you should close its lid to avoid food from pouring out.
Here are some things you should note down while to use your food processor most efficiently:
Now, what to do with liquids?
If your recipe requires processing foods with liquids, bear in mind to avoid passing the “fill” line on the plastic bowl’s side.
With hot ingredients, it’s essential to let them cool down to the room temperature prior to adding them into the machine.
With large foods, kindly chop or cut them into small pieces to help the processor perform better and easier.
Okay, getting started with closing the lid onto the machine. A good thing is that almost food processors won’t work until its lid stays in the right place. So, be aware of this!
Now, pay closer attention to two functional buttons: the “pulse” and the “run”. They not only take the role of on/off your machine, but also be used to blend, chop and liquefy your foods.
The biggest difference between these two buttons is that while the “pulse” is only chopping food once you keep holding it, the “run” button is blending foods continuously once you press it.
Based on that characteristic, the “pulse” button is usually used to chop foods until it gets the finest texture as you wish. And remember, just press it in a couple of seconds.
On the contrary, the “run” button is utilized to blend ingredients into smooth soup, created mayonnaise or making chunk-free sauces.
How about your food processor is attached more than two buttons?
Easy! Read the manual or ask for its manufacturer for usage tips.
What to do if your recipe requires you to add ingredients slowly during the blending process?
If your machine has a wide mouth feeder tube, add them while the processor is operating. To make it easier, you can use a metal or a plastic tamper to press foods into it.
On the contrary, if it doesn’t come up with a tube, kindly turn off the machine, take out the lid and add needed ingredients. Then, close its lid and restart the machine.
Using the Attachment Blades
Almost food processors have a S-shaped blade to chop vegetables and fruits, to puree sauces and soups and to grind dry recipe ingredients into a fine powder.
If your recipe doesn’t ask for a particular blade, just use this S-shaped one.
This is another important attachment of any food processor that sits next to the lid. It’s often attached to the blade mount with a long removable stem made out of plastic.
This attachment is utilized to slice vegetables and fruits into thin and circular pieces. For instance: slice various vegetables like sweet potatoes, zucchini and carrots into pieces or slice peeled potatoes for potato chips or scalloped potatoes.
Some people also use it to slice raw Brussel sprouts to soup up their fresh and healthy salads.
The position of this attachment is like the slicing disk, which is near the lid. Some modern models even make a combination between slicing disk and grater attachment to get a multifunctional tool.
With such design, you need to flip the slicing disk over to take advantage of the grater attachment.
And as its name implies, it’s used to grate at once a huge amount of food. For instance: grating the entire block of cheese; grating various beets, cabbage and carrots at once or rapidly shred some potatoes for hash browns or a batch of latkes.
Knead dough with the dough blade
This is an additional attachment which is put on the blade, in the similar position as the S-shaped blade to knead bread dough, pizza dough, pie dough, pasta dough.
How to clean a food processor
Avoid allowing your dirty processor overnight. Rinse it right after you have already finished your recipe if possible. If you’re busy to not cleaning it at once, soak it with warm water until you can wash it.
To clean the machine, first up, remove all plastic parts and metal blades, place them into the sink and gently wash it with water and soap.
After that, use a damp cloth to wipe the electric parts down to move off all smears of liquid or food. Take notice that let them dry prior to reassembling to the machine and don’t ever try to submerge the electric parts into water, especially when it’s connected to the electric stream because obviously, this 100% ruins your machine and more seriously, electrocute you.
Food Processor vs Blender: Which is better?
To know which is more suitable for your kitchen tasks, you need to know what they are specialized in first.
While a blender works its best in making blended cocktails, smoothies, emulsified condiments and soups, a countertop blender is the best way to go for. But if you’d rather to make nut butter or whipping cream, kindly choose the higher-end machine.
For pureeing soups or making other liquids, go for an immersion blender. This tool is not only versatile, but also compact to store easily in your kitchen space, whether it’s your cupboard or drawer. They are able to be attached some more addition part to serve for different purpose of use like chopping herbs or whipping cream.
Now, a food processor takes its role in grinding topping or preparing veggies, like rough chopping recipe ingredients for coleslaw or salsa. Besides, it can make pesto, blend hummus or grind breadcrumbs within just a couple of minutes.
For those harder tasks like chopping huger foods or making large batches, you should opt for a more powerful and larger food processor rather than a mini-sized one.
Things to Consider Choosing the Best Food Processor
This is one of the must-consider feature when it comes to choosing the best food processor because it should be powerful enough to work on those tough foods or handle those hard tasks like chopping raw carrots, kneading stiff doughs or shredding a block of cheese.
Besides, choosing the right power for your machine helps to prevent the risk of not uniformly combining or chopping, which leads to burnt motor.
Ideally, you should go for a food processor within 400-1200 watts. To pick the right power, you should think about the number of ingredients you usually plan on breaking them down with it. Pick it carefully!
For such hard tasks working on rough ingredients, a 600-watt food processor is the minimum.
Don’t worry that there’s no suitable size or capacity of a food processor that fits your demands because there are thousands of models out there on the market, from the super tiny 3-cup machine to the 20-cup to serve at many famous restaurants.
The key here is to identify how much people you are going to cook for at a regular basis. Also, what types of recipes you are going to prepare with it.
I mean, if you frequently cook for a 4-member family, a 11-cup food processor is ideal. For smaller tasks with smaller quantities like chopping nuts, herbs or making sauces, look for a 3-cup version.
A mini processor is suitable for any narrow kitchen space, importantly, it’s perfect for ingredient prep of 1 to 2 meals. Besides, these small versions usually come in more affordable price to save you a lot of money.
On the contrary, if you regularly cook for a big family of 6-8 members as well as your kitchen space is spacious, it’s worth investing on a large, powerful appliance. They usually come up with high-yield and high-quality to readily tackle any tasks during your cook.
But, in turns, these big boys are the space sacrifice because chances are that they don’t fit your cupboard. Besides, they will take a bit more time to clean than other mini-sized counterparts.
Attachments and Accessories
To maximize use of the food processor, the manufacturer also attaches some more additional accessories. They might be different sized blades or work bowls or disks to help you grate and slice various thickness degrees.
Even some attachments can change a food processor into a bread dough kneader or a citrus juicer within a couple of seconds. It’s convenient and multifunctional!
However, before spending some extra money on these addition gear, you should know that whether or not you really need them as well as if you use that function often enough to invest on it.
As I once told you above, if your recipes usually require adding ingredient gradually while processing, kindly consider a food processor with a small (or large) tube to help you out this task easier.
Or, you can consider a “pusher” which must fit the tube to help feed larger ingredients more quickly and conveniently without causing risks to your fingers. Also, this pusher acts as a lid, too.
Besides, ensure that your machine is attached a “pulse” button as well to chop foods better and finer.
Safety locking machine
Check this feature! It’s better to be safe than sorry. So, go for a processor that won’t start if its bolts aren’t locked properly.
I have a lot of things to share with you about food processors, such as some good brands to go to are Cuisinart, Kitchenaid, Ninja, Hamilton, Oster, Black and Decker. But of course, not all of their products are on top of the line, you need to choose wisely.
Besides, to serve a huge number of foods in restaurant, you should consider a commercial food processor. They are, obviously, more expensive than the mini versions, which requires you to choose carefully.
However, this article is long enough to end it up. If you are interested in this topic, kindly take a look at my blog for more useful articles about particular brands or types. I’m pretty sure that you will pick the best food processor that bangs for your buck from my list.