Food Processor vs Blender | Parts & Functions
A food processor is an all-purpose kitchen appliance that is used in various repetitive tasks in the food preparation process.
Food Processor vs. Blender
It seems that those two have a lot in common but there are some differences:
- unlike blender, food processors have interchangeable blades and attachments;
- food processor’s bowl is wider and shorter, suitable for solid or semi-solid foods;
- blender requires some amount of liquid to work in order to move the particles around its blade, whereas food processor can work without it. Blenders are a good fit to e.g. chopping ice;
The Basic Food Processor Parts
Food processors come in three basic sizes: full, compact and mini. No matter the size, every food processor is equipped with:
- a motor;
- a bowl with a lid and feed tube;
- a set of attachments;
A motor is the base unit that turns a vertical shaft. It is the heaviest part of the device. A powerful motor will help you get consistent results time after time. Around the shaft there is a bowl. The bowl is usually made of durable, transparent plastic. The lid, usually made of the same material, locks onto the top of the bowl. The lid has a feed tube fitted with a plunger. Through the feed tube you drop food into the device. You can find models with wider and narrower feed tubes. It’s up to you whether you will need to use it for larger or smaller ingredients.
As we mentioned before, food processors differs in size. And due to this, the size of the bowl varies as well:
- full-size bowls generally have a capacity of 9 to 13 cups;
- compact-size bowls can accommodate 5 to 8 cups;
- mini-size bowls can fit 2 to 4 cups;
Some models come with large and small bowls for use with the same appliance base. Apart from this, you may find bowl accessible both to right-handed and left-handed.
Be aware that bowls capacity varies. As example you may find food processor labeled by manufacturer as 10-cup-capacity but actually it can only accommodate 7 cups (this applies in particular to liquids). On the other hand, one of food processors we researched - Hamilton Beach 70610 500-Watt Food Processor - has the 10-cup-capacity work bowl but it was tested by some customers and it turned out that it is effectively larger than competitors’ 10-cups bowls (because the center tube is larger).
So, what's the takeaway? Read some reviews before you buy particular model of food processor :)
“A” Like Attachments
Standard food processor is equipped with:
- s-shape blade;
- shredding disc;
- slicing disc;
S-shape blade consists of two smaller, metal-made blades. Sometimes blades can be made of hard plastic. Metal ones are said to stay sharpen longer.
What’s really cool about food processors is their modification capabilities. You can broaden your food processor “talents” by buying some extra blades. An egg whip is good example of this - you can use it for beating eggs white and whipping some pastry cream. If it’s not enough, you should try other popular blade – the dough blade, which is useful while kneading bread or pizza.
Remember, if you find the standard attachments not rewarding enough and you want to broaden your kitchen experience, you can always order some extra stuff to your favorite food processor.
Ok, Food Processor, But Do I Really Need This Thing?
The biggest advantage of food processor is reducing food prep time . Due to its multiple functions, food processor not only simplifies basic food preparation but it takes over some of the most labor-intensive tasks in the kitchen. This device makes it possible for you to quickly and easily chop, slice, shred, grind, and puree almost any food. With some models you can also make cake dough, citrus and vegetable juice, knead bread dough, beat egg whites, and grind meats and vegetables.
What is special about this appliance is a quality of its work. As example, when you need to prepare turkey, with food processor big chunks of cooked meat are chopped evenly and smoothly without pureeing. There are also some benefits for Italian food lovers - food processor is helpful when preparing pizza dough (food processor motor’s speed ensure proper consistency) or shredding mozzarella (it can be easily shredded into pieces that melt and bubble quickly).
The thing that is unique to food processor is its versatility. With this device, having one food product you can do a lot of meals, e.g., if you're working with very juicy foods and put them through at high speed, you will get juice. If you turn down the speed you get the beautiful shreds you're seeking. Hey, why not try this in Sautéed Shredded Vegetables Recipe?
As it was mentioned above, this kitchen appliance is a real time-saver, for example it will take a couple of minutes to shred big cabbage head to make slaw and a few seconds to slice an onion (and without tears ;) ). And here you’ve got another benefit – food processor is designed for those who want to avoid unpleasant side effects of food preparation (tears when peeling onion, dirty hands). It is perfect for making a giant smoothie for two to four persons without making a mess.
One of the most useful advantages of food processor is an efficiency of its performance. Try putting a large brick of chocolate into this kitchen appliance and in a minute you will have perfectly chopped chocolate. You can use it as well to have finely sliced potatoes for scallop potatoes.
Food Processor seems to be a perfect solution for those who are keen on healthy eating. Many customers have found it useful in cutting out processed and packaged foods and eat healthier in general. All in all, this device will probably fulfill almost all of your kitchen needs.
Food Processor Functions
In a nutshell, the device's functions are as follow:
- slicing/chopping vegetables;
- grinding items such as nuts, seeds (e.g. spices), meat, or dried fruit;
- shredding or grating cheese or vegetables;
- mixing and kneading dough;
Check out our Food Processors Buying Guide