Have you ever heard the expression, “Slaving away in the kitchen”? There’s a real basis for that saying – cooking is a chore! Actually, one could argue that standing over the stove and stirring is the easy part – it’s all the cutting, chopping, slicing, dicing, mixing and mashing that takes up valuable time.
Luckily, there’s a better way. Enter the food processor – a small kitchen appliance that takes the hard work out of cooking, so you can concentrate on the stuff that really matters, like choosing the right ingredients, seasoning them to perfection and enjoying a well-deserved meal.
Why You Need a Food Processor
Whether your recipe calls for two ingredients or ten, a food processor will make any prep work both quicker and easier. All that strenuous cutting and slicing, grinding and grating, stirring and shredding – even pureeing, whisking and blending – can be accomplished in a fraction of the time it would take to do by hand. Suddenly, the task of preparing a large meal or two doesn’t seem so daunting. Food is ready sooner, recipes may turn out better (since a food processor is consistent) and you may even become healthier, as a result of eating more home-cooked meals.
How to Choose the Right Food Processor
Does Food Processor Size Matter?
It’s a simple case of “bigger is (usually) better”. To chop and cut, slice and dice, grind and mix and blend, a food processor requires a fast, powerful and durable motor. Fast, to spin quickly and grind finer ingredients; powerful, to cut through tough foods like nuts, chewy dried fruit and raw meat; and durable, to withstand the heat generated by sustained operation. Typically, a larger, high-wattage motor is a better choice – but do your research – choose a food processor made by a company reputed for quality.
Smaller, lighter-weight processors (which may place a too-powerful motor in an insufficiently sturdy base) have an unfortunate habit of shaking, twisting and sometimes vibrating themselves over the edge of a countertop. Look for a model with a wide, weighty base. Non-slip feet, of the texturized rubber variety, or “suction cup” feet, are another feature to consider – they’ll help hold the food processor firmly in place.
Simple is Beautiful
Food processors, for all they can do, are simple machines. Most feature nothing more than an on/off switch, a speed control and a single-mode or variable pulse button. Look for controls that are easy to read, reach and operate. Protruding buttons and levers may look nice, but they gather dust and grime quickly. Flat buttons, touch pads and low-profile dials are a better choice.
Similarly, a plainly designed body with smooth, uninterrupted lines, and mixing containers without unnecessary crevices, will be much easier to clean than sharp corners, protrusions and grooves.
Cutting to the Chase
How can a machine with so few controls be so versatile? It all comes down to the blades. A good food processor will include a variety of interchangeable blades. You’ll probably use the one designed for chopping and mincing the most. Others can slice, grate, whisk, and knead dough. Good blades will be sharp, rust-proof and easy to switch out. Look for a processor which includes a complete set of blades – this way, you’ll maximize the machine’s potential.
Don’t Forget About the Bowl
With all this talk of motors and buttons and moving parts, it’s easy to overlook another critical component: the bowl. This is where the action happens, where whole ingredients are transformed. Almost all food processor bowls are made of polycarbonate plastic – transparent, lightweight, quieter than steel and more durable than glass, it’s an ideal material in most regards.
As with the size of the processor’s motor and base, bigger tends to be better. At minimum, look for a 2-litre bowl, but if you frequently cook for family or friends, 3 litres is preferable. It’s not advisable to put boiling water into plastic, but if possible, try to find a bowl which is heat-resistant.
Put a Lid on it
The lid sits on top of a food processor’s bowl, allowing ingredients to stay contained. As such, a well-designed lid will fit snugly, not coming loose until you remove it. Also consider the tube through which ingredients are put. Too small a tube means pre-cutting many foods (defeating the purpose of having a food processor). Ideally, the tube will be large enough to accommodate almost everything you’ll put through it, and will include a second, smaller tube through which narrow ingredients like zucchinis, carrots and other root vegetables can be pushed.
A food processor is an investment. It will make your life in the kitchen immeasurably easier. If you’re asking – “what is the best food processor on the market in 2015?” then you’re asking the wrong question. There are simply too many great processors with equally good features and capable of producing the same results.
To get the most out of your investment, stick with well-reviewed products from reputable brands such as Kenwood, Panasonic or Philips that offer a manufacturer’s warranty. We currently rate the 1000 Watt, 3 Ltr Kenwood Food Processor FDP613 very highly and would recommend this product to anyone looking for a reliable, high performance processors at a very affordable price.
Always take your time in determining your needs, read what others have to say, customer reviews, and you’ll end up with a machine that makes cooking a joy.