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Blenders & Food Processors
Blenders or liquidizers are essential kitchen appliances for mixing, pureeing and emulsifying foods. They use a rotating blade powered by a high-speed motor to shred solid foods and turn liquid foods like egg yoke into a homogenous mixture. They come in different models ranging from simple units for whipping creams and making smoothies to those that are strong enough to crush ice and seeds.
Why get a Blender or Food Processor? Blenders make cooking easier by quickly and efficiently performing food preparation tasks that would have otherwise taken longer. It chops peppers, blends powders and liquids, emulsifies mixtures and turns cooked vegetables into smooth purees. Without one, each of these food preparation steps would require a different kitchen tool.
A food processor is an even more thorough kitchen appliance. It differs from a blender in many ways. First, while a blender has a tall, upright build, a food processor has a feed tube as well as a wider and shorter bowl that is more suitable for processing solid and semi-solid foods. Secondly, a food processor uses interchangeable blades and attachments such as whisks while a blender usually has a fixed blade. Lastly, a food processor can handle dry ingredients and bulkier foods better than a blender.
Choosing Between Blenders A typical model has a transparent plastic bowl connected to a base that houses its motor and blade. A variation of this design is the immersion blender, a wand-like appliance with its electric motor at the top and a shaft connected to a rotating blade at the bottom. An immersion blender is more compact than a countertop model, and you can use it to blend foods in any container. Shoppers consider many factors when looking for the right electric blending machines for their kitchens. Key considerations include ease of use, noise level, power usage and ease of cleaning.
Other essential factors to consider include the container, controls, speed settings and power output. Plastic is the most common material used for containers. It is lightweight and does not break as easily as glass. However, it scratches and stains easily and absorbs food odors. Besides material, a blender's container must also have an easy-to-read graduated scale. Settings and speed selections are important for choosing the right blending power for different foods.
When Blending is not Enough, Get a Food Processor Sometimes a blender is just not powerful enough to handle certain food types or a high volume of food processing. A food processor is best for chopping, slicing, shredding and pureeing ingredients in large quantities. Food processors can also handle heavier tasks like kneading dough and grinding nuts, dried fruits and meat. Food choppers are lighter, smaller and less powerful alternatives that can chop up and grind most foods nut generally lack shredding and slicing blades.
The typical food processor has an S-shaped metal blade and a pusher to push solid food down the feed tube. Besides these standard features, other factors to look for when comparing food processors include speed settings, feed tube width, controls and accessories such as dough blades, whisk attachments, French fry cutters and a storage case.