Are you thinking of buying a food processor, but want to learn more about it – how food processors work? If so, then you’re in the right place. Continue reading to all you need to about food processors – meaning, working, and much more!!
If you ask someone who spends most of their time in a kitchen, what their favorite kitchen appliance is, and higher odds are they would say food processor. Well, there’s no denying that often preparing a meal can be quite labor-intensive. If you have got a food processor, you can use it to break things down in just seconds to dampen the time it takes to enjoy meals.
First Thing’s First?
What is a Food Processor?
Let’s first understand a food processor meaning.
Can food processors make smoothies? Can food processors grind coffee beans? Can I put ice in a food processor? Of course, Yes!!
A food processor is a machine designed to make repetitive activities in the kitchen go very quickly. Mincing, chopping, grinding, slicing, shredding, and pureeing are all repetitive tasks that are made much easier with the use of a food processor, particularly when done in high quantity.
How Does Food Processor Work?
Let’s now understand how food processors work.
Food processors are unlike regular blenders. They compromise of wider bowls with blades positioned at separate levels. Unlike blenders, they don’t thrust all the ingredients at the mid/center to create a whirlpool while blending. They even don’t require more liquid addition to help in mixing the dry foods. Blenders even tend to overflow due to their downwards-tapering design. On the other side, in food processors, the bowl’s width houses large batches of meal ingredients.
Moreover, food processors even come with a range of blades that enable grating, dough mixing, chopping, and much more.
Although one can use separate and inexpensive tools for each of these functions, the entire notion behind the conception of a food processor is to eradicate the other devices.
Types of Food Processors
The term “food processor” is a bigger umbrella, including all other kinds of devices like grinders, choppers, graters, blender, mixer, juicer, and much more, as they can cut and chop and squash and blend the larger pieces of food into tiny processed ones.
Nevertheless, we have categorized modern food processors into three types on the basis of their size and mode of operation. So, let’s have a look at them:
As the name indicates, these kinds of food processors are functioned manually and don’t require electricity to operate. This gives them the benefit of being useful irrespective of power supply. But, it even limits their operation as only so much physical effort, and force can be required by the user. Some models come with several separate attachments to grate, squeeze, chop and knead and much more.
Despite these limitations, people prefer to purchase hand-operated food processors as they’re affordable and easier to assemble and clean and don’t need large storage space.
Mini/Compact Food Processors
Mini food processors are in many ways similar to hand-operated food processors, but with the exception that they are motorized and much easier to use. Moreover, unlike manual food processors, you can use mini food processors for rigorous blending and mashing of food. They even don’t need large storage space and easier to operate. They can easily fit 5 to 7 cups.
For single people or ones with small families, mini food processors can be an ideal option; however, they can perform several mixing and chopping activities. As long as you’re satisfied with units that are basic and can only process food in minor quantities, a mini food processor can be ideal.
Full Sized Food Processors
Full-sized food processors feature several separate attachments like different blades for grating, mixing, chopping, cutting and kneading, etc. They even have a wider bowl (with up to 12 cups of capacity) and a powerful motor. They are more durable and can be used for a longer period.
Most full-sized food processors come with a feeding tube. This enables the cook to add food ingredients gradually. In contrast, a lid with blades allows the vegetables slicing into the mix. A right product will have different speeds and also enable you to “pulse” the blades for a few seconds that might be all you require. This offers greater control over the equipment. Prices will differ depending on the accessories included with the device. For the top food processors companies and brands with all the accessories, you can pay a few hundred bucks. These will come with a powerful motor that can deal with all sorts of jobs and last for several years to come.
Restaurants and professional chefs use full-sized food processors in order to make their job easier.
In all, food processors have certainly made life more convenient for people and chefs who love cooking. And by assisting in dampening the prepping time of meals, they enable people to have more energy and time to do other tasks with ease.
How Much Energy Do Food Processor Consume?
The energy or power needed for a food processor to operate is between 400 and 700 watts. The more powerful, bigger ones can work for longer without heating the device’s motor. They can utilize up to 1200 watts of energy.
How to Choose the Best Food Processor?
Food processors come in numerous sizes and shapes and can be used for a range of tasks. Selecting the right or best food processor can be challenging, considering you want your investment value. But, it doesn’t have to be such a tiresome task. Just consider the following factors that could help you choose the best food processor for your requirements.
Most food processors come with one motor speed and have a small tube opening at the top that allows users to add other ingredients easily. They generally have a pusher that fits into this tube and assists in feeding larger items, keep your fingers safe and serve as a lid.
Ensure that the device you select has a pulse button to give minor bursts of power. You’ll love smooth touchpad for the controls, and even easier to clean as compared to raised buttons.
Ensure that the device you select is powerful enough to handle the challenging tasks – chopping raw carrots and kneading stiff doughs. Else, you run the risk of the food processor not combining or chopping uniformly.
Size or capacity
Food processors come in numerous sizes, from tiny three-cup choppers to twenty-cut versions that could work in a restaurant kitchen. What size is ideal for you depend on how many people you have to serve and the recipes you’ll make with it. For instance, an 11-cup size food processor is ideal if you’re cooking for a family of 44 or making single-batch doughs.
Attachments & accessories
Some food processors have an entire assortment of accessories to maximize your use of the device. It can include different sized work blades and bowls, disks that grade and slice foods, etc. Before spending extra bucks on a machine with all attachments, consider whether you really use them.
Brand & Price
The two leaders in the category of food processors are KitchenAid and Cuisinart. Their items consistently rank highest in consumer ratings. You can buy food processors on Amazon or food processors at Costco. Other brands are Black & Decker and Hamilton Beach. Even though these secondary food processor companies and brands might offer some attractive features or accessories, their motors are generally not as powerful. However, the decision boils down to your own personal preference and your budget as well.
Evolution of Food Processors
In 1971, Pierre Verdon, who is a French salesman working with a catering company, made what he called Le Magi-Mix. It was the first version of an electronic counter-top food processor that could chop vegetables, blend purees, and grind spices. The machine was a scaled-down version of Robot-Couple, a food processor that Pierre had designed for his restaurant. The device was an instant hit all over Europe as it made life quite easier for people and chefs who love to cook.
Later in the year, Carl Sontheimer, a French-born American engineer, found a Le Magi-Mix in a trade show. He desired to bring this device back home to his countrymen, who were still kneading the pastry dough manually using their hands. He re-branded and named the product – Cuisinart. Even though the American people were a little slow to rely on this strange-looking blender, once it was recognized by the famous chefs of the time, its integration to homes of people was a piece of cake.
The widespread Cuisinart success following its exhibition in 1973 in Chicago led a lot of other manufacturers for designing competing models, and a lot of food processors were sold in the last 1970s.
Parts of Food Processors
So far, we have walked you through different food processors and each type of food processor job. Let’s have a quick look at basic food processors parts!!
No matter what size of a food processor, the basic parts are the same:
- Bowl with a lid and feed tube
The motor is accommodated in the appliance base, and it is also the heaviest component of the device. Full-size food processors often have larger, more powerful motors and could weigh more than twenty lbs or 9 kg. This weight entails a utilitarian value: the base’s heaviness offers the device stability and makes sure that it doesn’t move around while the motor is operating.
Although the bases of the first food processor were clad only in white, hard plastic, they are currently accessible in a variety of stylish colors and with plastic and metal finishes, making sure that your device will suit your kitchen décor.
From the motor, a shaft extends upward for powering the attachments. The bowl that’s generally made of transparent, durable, plastic, fits onto this shaft and locks into position.
The lid, generally made of the same material, locks on the bowl’s top. In many previous models, engaging the locking mechanism switches on the motor, but newer ones usually have an on/off button or switch.
The lid comes with a feed tube fitted with a plunger. Users can insert food into the equipment through this feed tube and pushing it down using the plunger. Some models come with narrower and wider feed tubes for use with smaller and larger food items.
The bowl size even differs according to the device’s size.
If you want to get fancy with your food processor, you should supplement your device with additional attachments like:
- Citrus Press: It is utilized to make juices from citrus fruits like lemons and oranges.
- A dough blade: This blade is made of metal or plastic and has straighter paddles in comparison to the Sabatier blade (S-shaped blade – standard attachment). This blade comes in handy to make dough for pizza and bread.
- An egg whip: This has two straight arms with big open paddles at the end. Use this to beat egg whites or to whip cream, including enough air to make sure a fluffy end product.
- A julienne disc: This attachment has a row of shot, sharp, protruding teeth. Use it to cut food into thin, long matchsticks.
Is A Food Processor Really Necessary?
Ask yourself below questions:
- Do you do lots of mincing, chopping, shredding or slicing?
- Do you make lots of homemade dips and salsas?
- Do you have adequate storage space in your kitchen?
If yes to any one of the above questions, then yes, you need a food processor.
Can you use a food processor as a blender?
Many wonders – can food processors be used as blenders? Well, the short answer is No!! Both are two very different machines, and which one you should get depends on what you want to do.
Should I Get A Food Processor Or Blender?
To help you decide, we have listed the pros and cons of both food processor and blender:
Let’s first talk about the food processor:
Food processors Pros:
- Can deal with a lot of baking and cooking prep tasks
- Quick to slice, grate and chop food
- Larger capacity
- Can be quite expensive
- Some models take a lot of space
Let’s now talk about blender:
- Perfect for liquid blends
- More compact as compared to a food processor.
- No option to slice, chop, knead or whist
- It can be very noisy.
Last Few Words:
That’s all on food processors!! These machines come in very handy. No doubt, there are many options out there, which make selecting the best one challenging. However, we hope that our guide has helped you decide which food processor is ideal for you!!