A food processor is a great appliance to have in any kitchen. It is a useful machine that can do multiple culinary tools. Your food processor can do so much more than these! With the ability to slice, chop, mince, and grate, you can use your food processor to prep a multitude of dishes quickly and easily.
Many people think that a food processor is the same as a blender, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. To make it simple, you need to use a blender if you want your food to end up in liquid form. Meanwhile, if you want your food to remain solid, you should use a food processor. Read on to find out exactly what a food processor does to make the most of your machine.
Get to Know Your Food Processor
Before you start creating dishes, you should know what is a food processor, how it works, and the different parts that come with it.
First, let’s look at the motor of a food processor. The motor of a food processor is powerful enough to break down the toughest ingredients with ease, whether it needs to chop a nut or prep veggies for a smooth salsa.
The motor is concealed, so you do not have direct access to it. Some will only have a 300W motor, whereas other larger models will boast a 1100W motor. Those with larger motors are more powerful and therefore can do much more than a small one. If you want to use a food processor for a specific function, take note of the power and find one to do what you require.
Food processors come with many different blades and attachments. Each accessory that comes with a food processor is designed to carry out a different function such as:
- Dough hooks for preparing bread dough
- Blades for chopping
- Blender attachment
- Shredder attachment
- Creaming disk
- Citrus press
There are many more additional attachments available, too! So, always familiarise yourself with those that come with your device and what they should be used for.
Getting the right texture that you want is the key to making the perfect meal. Having many accessories that look different and do different things can overwhelm you at first. As this is the case, you should read the manual of your food processor to find out which attachment is the best one for the texture you want to achieve in your dish.
A food processor will come with an explanation of all of the extras it comes with and when you should be using them. Some will even come with a small recipe book for inspiration to get you started.
Every food processor will have a bowl where the ingredients are to be prepped. This bowl can vary in size and shape but will do the same job regardless. The bowl of the food processor has to be durable due to the high speeds, hard ingredients, and the heat that is created. The food bowl will attach directly to the base, and then the attachments can be attached through the bowl.
Some food processors will come with a plunger that allows you to add new ingredients to the bowl while processing. There will be an opening at the top of the bowl, and the plunger attachment will push food into the blades to add it to the mix. This is a handy tool if you need your ingredients to be added one after another.
Working With a Food Processor
Before you can make the most of a food processor, it is important to follow some simple steps to ensure your safety and use the appliance correctly.
- Never put your fingers or hands into a food processor when it is turned on.
- Do not put utensils into a food processor when it is turned on, as you will damage the food processor and your utensils. This can be highly dangerous.
- Chop food up before putting it in the bowl – yes, food processors work wonders. However, if a food item is too big, then it may not work.
- Always secure the bowl and attachments before getting started. Some food processors will not function unless everything is locked into place.
- Clean up afterwards and enjoy your food processor long into the future
- Do not overfill it; if necessary, add in more as it begins to process the foods already in there.
Types of Food Processor
Although they all generally do the same thing, there are several different types of food processors that may affect what you can make. The mini, compact, or full-size food processors mainly depend on the size of the bowl included; they should all have a motor, a food bowl with a feed tube, and various extras.
They may also come with different attachments included. Therefore, you may not be able to do all of the processes we mention in this article, but that will depend on the make or model.
Some collections will include a large, full-sized option and a mini food bowl for complete versatility.
What Can a Food Processor Do?
So let’s get started on exactly what a food processor does and how we can make the most of this wonderful appliance. First, it’s worth noting that some of the attachments may be double-sided so that you can flip it over and use the opposite side for a different function. This is normally true for the grating and shredding blades, so you’ll need to learn which way up the blade goes to get the desired texture.
One of many tasks that a food processor can fulfil is blended. A recipe for sauces will be a great reason to use food processors. It’s important to add a little bit of liquid when making these recipes, as too much friction can cause the machine to overheat. This is great for various homemade dishes such as;
- Nut butters
- Ice cream
It is best to use an actual blender to achieve the desired texture and for the best results with liquid recipes.
Recipes for shredding vegetables such as lettuce and carrots will be great when you’re making healthy salads or coleslaw. Food processors can also shred! The special blade attaches to the bowl and forces the ingredients through the holes to slice them into thin strips. Some offer larger attachments even to make uniform chips.
Another great task for your food processor is chopping. If you find it hard to chop onions, tomatoes, or any other ingredient, you can use the pulse setting on your food processor to prep the food item for cooking. This is also great for making chunky salsa! A traditional blender would process the foods into a fine powder or a sauce, which doesn’t work for every recipe.
Food that includes ground meat, such as a burger, will be a great reason to use food processors. This is because meat for a burger needs to be ground to be formed into a patty. You can put in chunks of meat to grind it up into a consistency that can be moulded.
One of many tasks that a food processor can do is grating. Whether it be cheese for a sandwich or potatoes for hash browns, you can put your items into the bowl with the grating attachment, switch it on, and be left with perfectly grated foods with minimal effort. The grating discs are often double-sided so that you can opt for smaller or larger pieces.
Kneading dough is the most labour intensive part of breadmaking. But now, your food processor can help, thanks to the dough hook attachment. You can put in your ingredients and watch your processor combine and knead the ingredients together. With this, it is easy to over-knead your bread to make sure to check it at regular intervals and remove it as soon as it is springy enough.
Although less common, some food processors come with a citrus press to help extract juices from fruits such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits. However, if you make juice regularly, then you may want to consider buying an actual juicer.
Whether it be eggs, butter, or hollandaise sauce, the whisking attachment is a great option for all of your cooking needs. So easy to use and with results in a matter of minutes, you will never need to pick up your handheld whisk ever again.
Most slicing attachments sit near the top of the food processor, so when you push foods down the feeding tube/funnel, it will slice the item, and the slices will fall to the bottom of the bowl. This is handy if you want uniform slices for dishes like ratatouille, dauphinoise potatoes, and apple pie.
Taking Care of Your Food Processor
Always clean your food processor immediately after use. If you leave old food on the blades and inside the bowl, it will be harder to clean next time and affect how well it works. You need the blades to stay sharp for the best results.
You may need to leave the bowl to soak for a while to loosen up whatever you had inside; however, a great tip is to put some warm soapy water in the bowl and use the pulse setting to force the water around and give the appliance a quick clean.
Afterwards, you should only need to give it a quick wipe down, and it will be ready for the next meal. Some food processor parts are even dishwasher safe for even easier cleaning.
Food for Thought
Food processors are highly versatile appliances that can be a great help in any kitchen to create homemade dishes for the whole family. However, if you do not know how to use your food processor, you may realise that you are not making the most of its functions.
Learn more about what a food processor does, and start enjoying more easy meals at home. From compact options to those with everything you need to get started, there are many things to learn. So make sure to sit down with the instruction booklet before getting started to make sure you know what everything is for and how it is supposed to work.