Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Food Processor and Blender Combos

There has been a recent trend within the kitchen appliance industry to create "multi-taskers." Consumers are looking for appliances that give them the biggest bang for their buck and a two-in-one machine has undeniable appeal. The food processor and blender combination appliance is no exception.
The problem with trying to create a machine that does the job of two different kitchen appliances is that it can't truly perform exceptionally in either function. To understand this most thoroughly, let's examine the fundamental differences between food processors and blenders.
A food processor is definitely the more versatile of the two. It is equipped with sharp, precise blades with the intent to chop, slice, shred and purée. It excels at processing solid foods into ready to eat or ready to cook preparations.
 A good food processor can produce cut food which is similar to food cut by hand with a knife. It can also knead bread or pasta doughs with ease, sparing cooks the hard labor long associated with these tasks.
A blender at the most basic level is meant to blend things. It excels at liquefying, emulsifying and puréeing. It has tougher, less precise blades. They are perfect for grinding ice and producing smooth, completely liquid results.
Let's look at a few examples where these two machine differ. Imagine making a simple salsa with fresh tomatoes, onions, peppers, cilantro and lime juice. In a food processor you would have your choice of consistencies. A few pulses would give you a chunky yet well combined salsa. A few more pulses would give you a smoother, well blended version. In a blender, your only option would be the well blended version.
Now picture a homemade butternut squash soup. The blender would purée this like a champ, leaving you with a silky smooth treat. The food processor COULD do the same thing, but it would likely take a few batches. It is not intended for large amount of liquids and filling beyond the halfway mark leads to leakage.
Let's look at frozen drinks. A few ice cubes, the juice of your choice and a bit of liquor go into your blender and out comes a delicious frosty beverage. Try the same with your food processor and the more sharp and precise blades will be permanently damaged.
The general rule is this; think food processor when dealing with solid foods and blender when dealing with liquids. There are of course exceptions to this which you will learn with time and experience.
Once you realize the fundamental difference between the two appliances you'll understand why one machine is unlikely to do the job of both. So who should consider a food processor / blender combo? A young cook with limited kitchen space just learning the basics could certainly benefit from such a device. Anyone who is looking to eat healthier but is either on a very limited budget or not ready to commit to the purchase of two separate appliances is also a candidate. You may just want to get your feet wet, so to speak, before deciding to buy a high-end food processor or blender. Whatever the case may be, use consumer reviews to see if this is the best option for you. You'll find the top models along with detailed customer reviews HERE.
Heather Krasovec, creator of, uses her extensive experience in food based industries to help consumers make better choices when stocking their kitchens.

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