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Essential Considerations for Buying a Food Processor

Meant to dice, mince, shred, and more, food processors are kitchen toilers that are so far the closest thing to sci-fi food-preparing robots. But until then, you can rely on a handy food processor.

But how do you spot one when you see one?

Size/Capacity
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Consider your recipe requirements when choosing a food processor according to size or capacity. But do keep in mind that the bowl size listed by a manufacturer’s may not be exactly the amount of ingredients you may add at the same time. Processors generally hold a cup less or two, and even less for liquids.
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In any case, in the world of food processors, size does make a difference. If it’s too small, you’ll end up not using the machine; if it’s too big, you’ll have an appliance consuming more counter space than necessary. Shopping around, you will find three groups of processors according to capacity:

> Mini prep (3-4 cups) – good for tiny individual tasks, like chopping veggies or making sauces

> Mid-size (7-9 cups) – works like the mini-prep type but bigger

> Large (11-13 cups) – adequate for a whole family’s needs

> Extra large (14-20) – best for catering and other large scale food preparations

Motor Power

A food processor’s motor power is the second most important consideration you need to make. For a regular size machine, 400 watts is common; for anything bigger, the minimum wattage should be 750.

Bigger jobs naturally need more power. Furthermore, a heavy base is a helpful design element that helps keep the machine stable on the counter while working.

Controls

Because food processors work very fast, you don’t really more controls than On/Off and Pulse. Small choppers can also come with high-low speeds, while high-end machines can have a “dough” setting.

Other Important Elements

Two design features that can come in handy include covered touch pads that make wipe-downs and cleaning easier, and a marking or line on the mixing bowl for some help with measurements. Perhaps most importantly, you need to find something a wide feeder tube, or that chute where ingredients go down into the machine.

A bigger chute reduces the need to pre-cut large veggies such as squash or cucumbers. Also included is a plastic food pusher, otherwise known as a prod. Your fingers are definitely no substitute!

As sharp, buzzing knife blades are totally hazardous, the best food processors never start until the lid and base have been correctly locked in position. In other words, look for locks!

Finally, most food processors come with a standard S-shaped metal chopping blade, but pricier models may offer a blunt blade for kneading dough; slicing/shredding discs and other specialty cutting discs; whisks; and juicer attachments.