Deciding Between A Blender And A Food Processor

by Arnold Waterborn

Consumers frequently attempt to use a food processor in lieu of a blender, or vice versa. Wouldn't it be fantastically easier to have just one kitchen gadget for all your chopping, mixing, and blending needs? Unfortunately, each machine is designed to perform its own unique tasks, and having one pull double-duty may not always be an option.

A food processor is defined as "an electric appliance with interchangeable blades within a closed container into which food is inserted for slicing, shredding, mincing, chopping, pureeing, or otherwise processing at high speed." This just means an appliance that is designed to turn larger chunks of food into smaller chunks.

A food processor is characterized by a low voltage motor, often between 450 and 700 watts. It does not have to run very fast and it also is low and stout looking because it has to take in many chunks of food at one time. A cheap blender might run at the same type of low wattage, but the best ones these days are much more speedy and efficient.

For instance, the Vitamix 1710 blender operates at a monstrous 1500 watts, but it also is worth more than $600. The less wattage your blender has, the more likely you will need to buy a separate appliance for chopping. However, that doesn't mean a food processor can't be advantageous for everyone.

You might wonder, then, why you need a food processor at all if you have a great high speed blender. The reason is that you can actually have a blender that is too powerful for the job you want to do. For instance, if you want to dice carrots, your blender might be the perfect tool because your food processor is likely to turn them into carrot juice!

In addition, a food processor is meant for dry foods and is better for them, while a blender is really made to blend liquids or to turn soft solids into liquids if you wish. Even a very inexpensive and simple blender will usually do a great job of mixing up your smoothies or your soups better than any other type of equipment.

For circulation purposes, only a small portion of the container is required to stay empty. A food processor usually has a slight allowance set for liquid. If you do not follow this specification, then you will have quite a mess on your hands. Liquid will splash over the open areas which allow for blade changes or size adjustments. This also endangers the motor. It can cause it to short out, exposing the vulnerable parts of the body.

But food processors do get around one major pain: cavitation. As explained by blender experts, cavitation often occurs when an air pocket forms around the blades, shoving the contents to the sides of the blender. Reaching the desired consistency is a challenge if the ingredients are too cold, too dry, or too stringy. Also, blending mostly dry ingredients is likely to form a powder, instead of the creamy consistency you would expect from say, nut butters. So to avoid cavitation, a food processor would be the best choice.

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