In the year 1973, an engineer named Carl Sontheimer introduced the food processor to the North American market. He had spent time trying to modify the French industrial blender into a food processor.
After some years, consumers realized how useful this appliance is and it has been bought in their numbers since then. Food preparation has never been the same since the invention of this appliance.
In this article, we will learn all we need to know about food processors and their functions. We would also look at some of the recipes that could be prepared using the food processor.
Components Of A Food Processor
The basic components of a food processor are
This is the heaviest part of the food processor and is contained in the base of the appliance. Full-sized food processors have large motors that can weigh up to 10kg. The purpose of these heavy motors is to give the food processor some stability and prevent it from moving while the appliance is working.
From the motor extends a shaft where the bowl and other attachments are fixed upon. The bowl of the food processor is usually made of a transparent and durable plastic that fits onto the base and unto the shaft.
In some food processor models, the motor cannot run until the bowl engages the locking mechanism. This means that the bowl must fit properly onto the motor and the shaft before the motor can function.
The size of the bowl depends on the size of the machine. The mini-size bowls can take up to 5 cups, the compact-size bowl can take up to 7 cups while the full-size bowls can take up to 13 cups.
The Lid and Feed Tube
The lid of a food processor is usually made with the same materials as the bowl. The lid has a feed tube and a plunger. Food is inserted into the food processor bowl through the feed tube and pushed down with a plunger.
Some food processor models come with two feed tubes, a narrow and a wide feed tube. The narrow feed tubes are for smaller food items while the wide feed tube is for larger food items.
The Sabatier Blade
In most food processor models, this blade fits inside the bowl, just above the shaft. The Sabatier blade is shaped like an S, hence the name.
It is made with two curved blades fixed on the opposite sides of a plastic pillar. This pillar is fixed into the shaft at the bottom of the bowl when it is to be used.
Most Sabatier blades are made of metal although some of them can be made of durable plastic. Plastic blades are rust-free, but the metal blades retain their sharpness for an exceptionally long time.
The Slicing and Shredding Disc
The slicing and shredding disc can be made of metal or rigid plastic. They usually sit on the shaft on top of the bowl just below the lid.
The holes on the shredding and slicing discs differ and can create assorted sizes of food particles that can range from fine to coarse.
When using the shredding and slicing disc, the food to be processed is put into the feed tube. The food is pushed down with the plunger and it is sliced or shredded when it encounters the disc.
The following attachments can be purchased to help in other food preparation needs if they are not included in your food processor package. They are
- The julienne disc. This is used to cut food into long thin sticks. It has many protruded sharp teeth that cut the food to look like matchsticks.
- The dough blades. This looks like the Sabatier blade, but it is not fully curved like the Sabatier blade. This is used to mix and knead the dough for bread or pizza.
- The French fry disc. This disc works the same way as the julienne disc but creates fatter sticks than that of the julienne disc.
- The egg whips. This attachment is used to incorporate air into liquid food like egg, butter, and whipping cream to make them fluffy. It has two straight arms that have large paddles at the end.
- The citrus juicer. This attachment is used to squeeze the juice out of citrus fruits like orange, lemon, grapefruit, and lime. It is shaped like a dome and it fits on top of the shaft under the lid.
- The vegetable juicer. This attachment is used to puree vegetables and fruits and turn them into liquids while separating the pulp. The pulp is collected in the middle of the bowl while the juice is collected at the bottom of the bowl.
Types of Food Processors
The Full-Size Food Processors
They are suitable for a wide range of tasks and their bowl has a capacity of at least 9 cups and can take up to 14 cups. They are equipped with various accessories and attachments. These food processors also have user-friendly settings that save time and energy during meal preparations.
The portly size of the bowl of these types of food processors allows one to prepare for large meals at once. Its large feed tube makes it easier to add food while the processor is still working.
Mini Food Processors
These types of food processors occupy smaller storage space, with a 5-cup capacity bowl, and can be used for the basic food preparation tasks. They are portable, easy to assemble, and easy to operate and clean.
They can carry out tasks like shredding, slicing, pureeing, and grinding.
Dual Food Processors
This food processor is designed for blending and for processing of food. this 2-in-1 function of this appliance makes it one of the most convenient kitchen appliances.
Using the same motor but different processing bowls that can be interchanged makes the dual food processor capable of carrying out a wide range of food prep tasks.
This creates food that is precise and provides the expected results for every food processed. It comes with attachments and accessories that can carry out various tasks.
Factors to Consider When Choosing A Food Processor
When it comes to food preparation, the food processor is the go-to appliance. It takes care of all the time-consuming and energy-sapping tasks involved in making meals. Before buying a food processor, these are the few things to consider:
Meal Types and Family Size
Think about the number of meals you make always and decide the size of the food processor that will be suitable. Buying a small-sized food processor for the processing of a large quantity of food will require you to process them in batches. This might end up overheating the appliance and affect its durability.
Also, consider if you are always processing semi-liquid food. This will also help you to know the blade and attachment to look out for when buying your food processor.
The Type of Meals Prepared
If the meals you prepare most of the time consist of fruits and vegetables, consider buying a food processor with a wide feed tube.
If you are always making salads, you can shred, dice, and chop all the required ingredients with the food processor without going through the stress of manually cutting them.
You would need a food processor that has a dough blade and egg whisk if you bake often. Remember that you can also buy attachments if they are not included in the food processor you bought.
Consider the space you have for the storage of the appliance before choosing the size to buy. Improper storage of your food processor could expose it to the elements and reduce its durability. It is also a great idea to choose a food processor that is made with materials that are rust and stain-resistant.
Easy to Use and Maintain
When choosing a food processor, look for models that have a locking mechanism. This will prevent food spillage due to the processing of food when the lid or the bowl is not properly in place.
Choose a food processor that has many operating options and buttons. This will help in creating a product that is consistent and precise. The pulse button is also an important feature since it helps in creating food that is not over-processed or under processed.
It is best to buy a food processor that is dishwasher safe. This will ensure the proper cleaning and maintenance of your appliance. The dishwasher will get rid of the food debris effectively than washing by hand.
How to Assemble the Food Processor
- Place the motor base on a working surface with the rubber stands well suctioned on the solid surface.
- Place the bowl on the motor allowing the shaft to pass through the bottom of the bowl.
- Hold the handle of the bowl and twist it till it locks in onto the base.
- Select the attachment or accessory you want to use. Rotate the blade till it aligns on the shaft.
- Place the lid on the bowl. Rotate it till it locks into place.
Video: How To Use A Food Processor
This video explains the functions of your food processor.