A food processor is an essential kitchen appliance for food enthusiasts, and it can make cooking tasks a breeze. In this article, we will explore what a food processor does, what you can make with a food processor, what makes it different from a blender, and its pros and cons. Check further!
What Does A Food Processor Do?
A food processor is a versatile kitchen appliance that helps you to simplify prep work. Unlike blenders, food processors, depending on the model, offer a wide variety of kitchen tasks-made-easier.
Cutting, chopping, grinding, mixing, pureeing, slicing, and mincing ingredients, vegetables, fruits, meats, and nuts evenly become more manageable with a food processor.
- It comes with a set of blades and disks, each with a specific function like shredding, grating, spiraling, or kneading.
- It’s a time saver, as it allows you to do the work much simpler and more efficiently, making cooking and food preparation quicker.
- It helps you in making dough for bread without kneading it by hand.
What Can You Make With A Food Processor?
A food processor comes in handy when you want to create a range of dishes, from appetizers to desserts. The versatility and speed of food processor make it an essential tool in any kitchen.
You can use your food processor to chop onions, garlics, carrots, cabbage, celery, and other vegetables quickly and evenly for preparing homemade salads or other dishes.
A food processor is great for making soups and sauces from scratch. With its "S" blade, it can puree ingredients such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, or beans into a smooth mixture perfect for any soup or sauce.
3. Knead Dough
Using its dough blade, a food processor can help with the kneading process of making dough for pizza or bread, or cake batter. It’s much easier compared to traditional kneading by hand, which is often a labor-intensive task.
Note: Size matters, also in the world of food processors. Some have a small or medium sized bowl. But if you need to knead large amounts of bread dough, a stand mixer may do a better job.
4. Shred Cheese
Shredding cheese is a breeze with a food processor. All you need to do is put the ingredients into the bowl and let the machine do its job!
5. Whip Cream
Using the whisk attachment, whipping cream and making butter is a fairly simple task. Like with all food processor tasks, just don't walk away to make sure the cream is just right.
Making dips and spreads like hummus, guacamole, salsa, pesto, mayonnaise, and more can be made easily with a food processor.
7. Chop Nuts & Seeds
You can use a food processor to finely chop nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, etc.
Making bread crumbs from old or stale bread and pizza crust is a cinch. All you need to do is put the bread in the bowl and let the machine chop it up.
9. Make Nut Butter
You can make nut butter like peanut butter or almond butter with ease. All you need are the nuts, some oil and salt to help bring out the flavor of your amazing home-made nut butter!
10. Mince Meat
You can use a food processor to mince meat like beef, pork, and chicken. It’s a great way to get the perfect texture for your recipes without having to spend too much time manually mincing.
11. Make Smoothies & Milkshakes
With the right blender attachment, you can use your food processor to make delicious milkshakes or smoothies.
Note: When you want to make juice from citrus fruits or veggies, a food processor will not do. If you want to make vegetable, orange, grapefruit or lemon juice while separating the pulp and keep pure juice, you will need a juicer. But if you don't mind the pulp, a blender will do.
What Does A Food Processor Do That A Blender Doesn’t?
While the food processor and the blender have some shared functions, they differ significantly in their abilities. (Note: Most food processors come without a blender attachment. Blending pitcher is only available if you purchase the food processor and blender combo.)
- The different food processor blades and attachments are all designed to chop and shred food, including a shredding disc and slicing disc.
- A food processor has a feed tube and a wide, shallow bowl, making it more suitable for chopping and slicing, particularly for large ingredients.
- On the other hand, a blender has a narrow and deep container and a lid, designed to mix liquids and fluid foods. Blenders are primarily used for making smoothies, shakes, purees and soups. They are also perfect for crushing ice and nuts.
- Modern food processors handle a wide array of food preparation tasks, more versatile when it comes to the jobs it can tackle, from kneading dough for homemade pizza or bread to making small batches of nut butter, from mincing meat to slicing vegetables.
Food Processor: Pros & Cons
- It saves time and energy, particularly for tasks that would take longer to do by hand.
- It is also versatile, can handle a wide range of foods, and is easy to clean up.
- It can save you money in the long run. By grinding your nut butter or meat at home, you won't have to buy these products at the grocery store, which can be more expensive.
- It can be expensive, particularly for high-quality ones.
- It's bulky, and can be space-consuming in your kitchen.
- It's taking some time to clean, some parts of a food processor require cleaning by hand.
Food Processors FAQs
Here are some of the frequently asked questions about food processors.
Is a food processor worth it?
As a commercial-grade food processor is definitely worth the investment if you're looking for an effective and efficient way to chop vegetables, puree soups, knead dough, make bread crumbs or nut butter, and mince meat. It's also great for making dips and spreads that are much healthier than store-bought options.
How long does a food processor last?
It depends on the quality of the appliance and frequency of use, but typically a food processor should last you for 5-8 years if you use it regularly.
Do I need a food processor if I have a blender?
If you plan on making dough or slicing vegetables, a food processor is the way to go. On the other hand, if you’re mainly interested in making smoothies and purees, then a blender will suffice.
Ultimately, it comes down to what kind of tasks you need to complete in the kitchen that will determine which one you need.
Should I use a food processor or blender for baby food?
A food processor makes baby food, as it gives you a finer and smoother texture. It's also easier to clean up since most parts are dishwasher safe.
Note: An alternative is an immersion blender, which is easy to set up and use, for example when preparing a small amount of baby food.
Can I use a food processor to grind coffee beans?
You can use a food processor to grind your coffee beans. Just make sure that you don't grind them too fine, as this can lead to a bitter taste and an over-extracted flavor. Start with pulses and then adjust the settings according to your preference.
Can a food processor make ice cream?
You can use a food processor to make homemade ice cream! All you need is some frozen fruit or dairy of choice, and cut it in small bits and you're good to go. Just put the ingredients in the bowl and let the machine do its job! Don't forget to put the lid on the bowl.
Do I need a special attachment for a food processor?
It depends on what kind of tasks you want to use it for. Some food processors come with attachments such as shredding discs and slicing blades, while others require additional accessories like juicing or grinding attachments. Check the manual to see what’s included and if you need any additional accessories.
What blade do you use to puree in a food processor?
You can use the chopping/mixing. or "S" blade puree ingredients. Just add your ingredients into the bowl and let the machine do its job! Additionally, some models come with an additional puree disc which produces an even smoother texture.
Is it safe to put hot liquids in a food processor?
It is not recommended to put hot liquids in a food processor. Hot liquid can damage the blades and other parts of the machine, as well as potentially cause burns when it spills out during processing. Stick to cold or room temperature liquids for best results.
Can I make dough with a food processor?
You can certainly use a food processor to knead your dough. Just add your ingredients into the bowl, connect the beater attachment and let the machine do its job.
However, keep in mind that some machines may struggle with heavier dough. For best results, start with pulses before allowing the processor to knead your dough for a few minutes.
Tips & Tricks
- Always read the user manual before using your food processor for the first time. Keep it close for future reference.
- Make sure to use the proper blade or disc for whatever task you’re doing.
- When adding ingredients, make sure to cut them into even size pieces so they will be evenly chopped and mixed in the processor.
- Don’t overfill your food processor or blender as it can cause the motor to burn out. Also, don't overfill with liquid, as it can cause a mess.
- Always unplug the appliance before cleaning it.
- Make sure to use the pulse setting sparingly and only when needed, as it can heat up the motor quickly.
- Use plastic spatulas or soft cloths to scrape out the food processor’s bowl instead of metal utensils, which may damage it.
- Don't force anything bigger than what your food processor can handle.
In conclusion, a commercial-grade food processor is an essential appliance in any kitchen. It is convenient and time-saving, a must-have for those who enjoy cooking regularly, and its versatility makes it an excellent investment for any household.
We hope that this in-depth guide has provided you with valuable insights into what a food processor does and how it can make cooking easier and more enjoyable.