Food processors are magical powerful machines that will mix, grate, slice, chop, whisk, knead and – in some cases liquidise your ingredients. Many with attachments for producing soups, pancake batter, milkshakes and smoothies. Dough blades ideal for perfecting bread, while the egg whisk is good for whipped cream and fluffy meringues. Don’t forget the main blades ideal for purees, chopping and liquidising.
A food processor is a motorised appliance that quickly performs food prep tasks traditionally carried out by hand.
Some food processors can chop vegetables; some can blend ingredients into soups, pastes and sauces; and others can mix things like batter and cream. In fact, many food processors do all these things and more.
When choosing a food processor, the key point to consider is which particular jobs you would like the machine to do. Do you want something that’s really well suited to chopping and slicing, or are you more interested in functions like blending and mixing? Even food processors that do all these things will tend to be better suited to certain tasks than others.
You should also consider how much of a technical challenge you are willing to tackle. As a rule, the more functions a food processor has, the more complex it will be to assemble and use correctly. The point of a food processor is to make preparing food easier and more efficient. They do this by working faster than we are able to – for instance, by chopping several vegetables in a matter of seconds. They can remove the need for physical effort and technique, especially in processes like whisking, where a steady manual action might otherwise need to be sustained over several minutes.
Just like the tools you’d use to manually chop, grind or mix food, food processors require cleaning after use, and so it follows that the more food you process in one go, the greater the potential to save time and effort. If you’re making lots of portions at once, a food processor could be very handy.
It’s worth bearing in mind that a food processor is not a magic bullet for food preparation. To get the very best results, you’ll need to add ingredients of a size, shape and consistency that suits the processor and function.
There are techniques to learn – like adding ingredients to smoothies in the right order to ensure an even blend, or using your eye to gauge the progress of your ingredients with more exactness than a specified prep time can provide. Still, it beats spending ages chopping, whisking or blending by hand.