When it comes to kitchen appliances the humble food processor is a workhorse. It does the boring labor intensive jobs like chopping and grating in a fraction of the time it would take you to do it manually. It also saves you from grating your fingers along with the food.
Soup making is no longer the chore of grating and chopping an endless stream of vegetables.
The larger units can cope with making salad dressings and chopping nuts. But we have found that this sort of preparation is easier in the smaller machines.
All these machines have bowls and blades which are dishwasher safe but you can hand wash them if you prefer.
Please be aware while washing that the blades are very sharp - don't make your fingers part of the recipe!
Carrots often stain the white plastic parts of these machines so here is a good tip for cleaning them. Take a piece of kitchen paper and oil and wipe them down before washing. Olive oil works best but any food grade oil will do. You will prolong the good looks of your machine for years to come.
The following five units are all highly recommended by thousands of happy customers. They have rated them at least 4.2 out of 5 stars with three machines rating 4.5 stars.
It's generous 14 cup bowl has an extra big feed tube with a smaller insert for adding small items like garlic or liquids like oil while the machine is working.
Removal of the main feed tube will cause the 750 watt machine to stop this is a safety feature.
It comes with a stem to hold the 2 discs, a 4 mm slicing disc and a medium shredding disc for grating. These blades are not adjustable. Also included is a spatula and instruction manual with recipes.
It is simple to operate with an on and an off button; the off button doubles as a pulsing feature.
There is a reason that it is more pricey than the others and that is because of all the good points that it has. Read on to find out more.
This unit has a spindle, five discs and three blades, two see through bowls and a spatula and brush to remove all the processed food and not waste any.
This workhorse of the kitchen will slice, chop, grind and whisk, it will make julienne strips and chips.
The amount you need to prepare will decide which of the two bowls you will use. One bowl measures 16 cups or 3.8 litres and the other, smaller one 2.5 cups holding 600 millilitres.
The lid has an extra wide chute at 5.5 inches and a smaller one. The big one will take whole foods without you having to cut them into smaller pieces before you begin. The smaller one is for foods that don't need a pusher like carrots or leeks.
It has an adjustable disc to make different thicknesses of slices without needing different discs. This disc is adjustable to 24 settings. When you store this blade you need to make sure that it is in the storage position so that the blade is tucked away.
The shredding disc is reversible the grate both course and fine foods.
The third blade will whisk up cream or egg whites to assist you making the best meringues you have ever made.
You can program these operations or use the manual option. The digital timer counts down to let you know how much longer the operation will take. There is also a pulse option to allow you to make visual judgements.
To store, put these discs, blades spindle, spatula and brush in their own storage box. You can store this box either flat or on its side as the lid locks into place and nothing will fall out of it.
The smaller bowl stores neatly away inside the bigger one.
Finally what do you usually o with the cable? No problems with this one as it retracts into the base of the unit to store away.
It has only one disc that is reversible; one side for slicing and the other for shredding.
You can add big pieces of food through the large feed tube in the lid.
There are 2 speeds and a pulsing option from the 450 watts of power that are controlled by a dial on the base of the unit.
Tip; when shredding cheese choose a hard cheese like cheddar straight from the fridge. If you want to shred a softer cheese like mozzarella put it in the freezer for around 30 minutes first.
With the bigger units the blades would not reach low enough for a small quantity of, for example, herbs.
This unit is perfect for either small quantities or making things like mayonnaise. It has 2 holes in the top where you can add the oil gradually for the perfect emulsion.
The 250 watt motor powers the reversible blade using one of the 2 power buttons. If you are grinding soft foods like herbs the blade will rotate so that the sharp edges will go through them. If you are chopping hard ones like nutmeg the blade will automatically reverse and go in the other direction using the blade's blunt edges.
At only 8.4 inches x 7 inches x 5 inches this will not take up much room in your kitchen either in a cupboard or on the worktop.
It weighs in at a lightweight 1.63 pounds, so it won't cause you any problems if you have to lift it out from a cupboard or move it the be near a power source.
Although small this has a 21 ounce work bowl which is easy to twist on to the base unit and twists and lifts off with ease too.
Like the last machine it has a reversible blade for grinding and chopping. It also comes with a spatula and brush for cleaning off any grinds left behind before you either hand wash or put it in the dishwasher.