How does a food processor work?

Whether you want to get rid of the hard work of chopping vegetables for salad or as a base for dishes like curry and stew, or you just want a device with a multitude of functions so you can declutter the kitchen counter. from your usual line of gadgets, one of the best food processors can be the savior of the home kitchen.

Food processors may seem like a slightly outdated gadget – in the UK, the number of households equipped with a food processor has fallen to 38% from 50% in 2005, according to Statistical. While the ownership of smoothie makers and top juicers has increased over the same period.

The decline in popularity is not surprising, not least because assembly alone can be a bewildering task. If you own one of the best blenders or a stand mixer, for example, you might think that a food processor can’t add much to your kitchen or do more tasks than your current appliances. But once you figure out what these versatile machines are capable of and how they work, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without them.

Read on to find out how food processors work, or if you want to get your hands on one of the best food processors right now, check out these great deals for some of the best prices on the market.

What is a food processor?

Food processors are electrical devices with a base that houses the motor and then a removable bowl that typically locks into position on top. The bowl usually has a handle and a lid with a large feed chute to accommodate foods like grating and slicing carrots.

Inside the bowl is one of the many attachments typically included with a food processor, which perform different tasks. The exact number and type of accessories will depend on the model as well as the price, with the higher end and more expensive models offering a plethora of different accessories.

The most common accessories are chopping blades, as well as grating and slicing discs. The sharp blades can be used for chopping anything from vegetables to meat, as well as for mixing pancake or cake batter. Grating and slicing discs make it easy to slice vegetables as well as shred foods like carrots and chocolate. They can speed up this usually laborious task and create piles of grated or sliced ​​food in no time. Perfect when you need to create large bowls of coleslaw or salads for a barbecue or potluck.

Other attachments may include a dough blade for mixing firm dough, such as bread dough, or a whisk attachment for whipping egg white or thickening cream. Some food processors also come with a blending pitcher, making them space-saving 2-in-1 devices. Our article, blenders vs food processors, offers a more in-depth look at how the two devices differ.

Mixers vs food processors

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

So how does a food processor work?

All blades and discs are removable and interchangeable. So, once you have decided which accessory you want to use and assembled the food processor, the motor then spins the accessory at high speed. In the case of the sharp chopping blades, these are usually found at the base of the bowl and chop food as they spin, they are useful for all kinds of tasks like chopping onions, herbs and chopping beef.

Grating and slicing attachments are usually large, round discs that are put together so that they are closer to the top of the bowl. The feed chute in the lid allows you to safely feed food through the chute to the slicing and grating discs using a plastic pusher, which means your fingers don’t get too close not dangerous, fast-rotating blades. When you push the food down the feed chute, it is shredded or sliced ​​by the high speed disc and any sliced ​​or grated food falls into the bowl under the disc. Some food processors come with more than one size of grating or slicing disc, so you have the option of creating thicker or thinner slices or choosing between large or small shredding. The larger grating discs are great for grating carrots and cheese, but a smaller disc will give you beautifully fine shredded chocolate.

Dough blades are plastic blades that are not as sharp as metal chopping blades so instead of slicing them they mix and knead the dough as it turns, they are ideal for baking or baking. bread dough. But food processors aren’t as capable of mixing large amounts of dough as a stand mixer. Whisk attachments also spin at high speed to whip air into your cream or egg whites and they are often disc shaped or have a mesh design instead of being more like a hand whisk.

At a minimum, the food processor will have one speed as well as a pulse button for short bursts of speed, but it is not uncommon to see models with two or more processing speeds. Many food processors also come with more than one bowl, the smaller bowls are useful for effectively chopping or mixing small amounts, they are usually found inside the main bowl and use smaller blades.

One of the great advantages of food processors is that they are generally designed with safety in mind. Most cannot be turned on until the cover is firmly locked in place. This helps to avoid dangerous situations, but it is also one of the main reasons why some people find this device difficult to assemble. Locking the bowl in place as well as fitting the cover may need to be done in sequence. And if it’s not set up correctly, the device won’t start, which, if you don’t have the manual handy, can be confusing and frustrating. However, once you know the sequence or the exact way your model will lock, it becomes second nature.

Due to the large pitcher-style bowl and sharp blades, you might be wondering whether a blender can be used as a food processor or vice versa. Unfortunately, they can’t – in part because food processor lids are usually not waterproof, so mixing large amounts of liquid soups or smoothies in a food processor isn’t advisable. The second reason is that blender pitchers are large and designed to suck all ingredients towards the blades, while food processor bowls are wider and flatter and better designed to evenly chop larger amounts as well as dry ingredients. . There are of course some tasks, such as mashing, where you can use either device.

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