Simple tasks such as prepping meat and vegetables can become very laborious in the kitchen. With everyone short on time gadgets which reduce the backache and preparation for a meal have become a boon in the kitchen.
Initially, in terms of tasks, the food processor and the food blender appear to be almost interchangeable. Pared back to basics they both consist of a plastic jug and a lid, a sharp blade and a motor housed in the base. However, read on and dig a bit deeper, and you will see they have quite different functions.
Food Processor Vs Food Blender: Which Is Best?
The versatility of both the food processor and blender means the prep time for the more menial kitchen tasks are dramatically reduced. The food processor’s strength lies with its ability to quickly chop, slice, whisk and grate any number of ingredients such as meat, fruit, vegetables, cream, and cheese. While the food blender performs much better with liquids, making soups, sauces, smoothies, and purees silky smooth.
To check which machine will fulfil your cooking requirements you need to evaluate the meals you routinely make at home. Do you regularly cook for a large family or batch cook for the freezer? Do you throw parties where you will need buffet style food? This guide will help you to identify your requirements in the kitchen and which machine will suit the tasks best.
Post war innovation catalysed the invention of both the food processor and blender. In 1946, German company, Electrostar, created the Starmix, the first simple, electric food processor.
In the 1950’s catering salesman, Pierre Verdun, was inspired watching his chef clients at work taking an age to slice and chop ingredients. His solution? The Robo-Coupe which was launched in 1960. With a stronger motor the Robot-Coupe Magimix food processor was the successor, with exporting starting to the UK in 1974.
Why Should You Buy A Food Processor?
The sheer versatility of the food processor is its strongest appeal. Attachments vary from model to model but often include the following, with which you can:
- Chop vegetables, fruit and make nut butter using the stainless-steel S-shaped blade.
- Slice and grate vegetables, fruit, and cheese with the combined stainless-steel grating and slicing blade.
- Bring pastry dough together, using the non-sharp plastic blade, although some cooks prefer the standard blade.
- Whip cream, eggs, and light sauces, using the whisk attachment.
- Knead bread dough, using the metal hook attachment.
More expensive food processors usually come with more refinements. Such as allowing you to vary the thickness of the slicing blade or the motor may have two speed settings along with a pulse function to give intermittent chopping. A pulse function is particularly useful when making pastry. Friction from the blade can quickly overheat the pastry. Leave the machine on too long and you will be pouring your pastry out! However just by adding a little iced water and using the pulse function sparingly will keep everything cool and produce much better pastry.
Nowadays all bowls are manufactured with vertical ridges on the inside. As the ingredients swirl around the bowl and against these ridges they are directed back to the central blade. Without these ridges the ingredients will clump around the outside beyond the reach of the blade.
It is not unusual for the bowl capacity of the food processor to exceed 3 L. This makes it ideal for making larger batches, whether for the freezer or entertaining. Nowadays most manufacturers produce dishwasher friendly bowls and attachments, but it is always worth doublechecking.
When thinking of which size machine to buy check out the available space in your kitchen. Is the machine going to be left on the worktop permanently? If so, is it going to get in the way of other tasks? Or do you have space in a cupboard where it can be stored separately?
- Most are dishwasher friendly
- Ideal if you are making larger quantities, for example for a party or the freezer
- Can take up a lot of space in the kitchen
- Not good for creamy ingredients and smoothies
The first record for a food blender goes to Stephen Poplawski, who in 1922 registered the patent for a rotating blade in the base of a bowl. In 1937 US company Waring Blendor created a successful new design. This company is still going strong, selling a range of kitchen models.
Following the war German company, Electrostar, launched the Starmix Standmixer. It proved a popular model with attachments including a grinder, an ice cream maker, and a juicer.
Why Should You Buy A Food Blender?
Food blenders carry out fewer tasks than a food processor. The taller jug of the blender has blades in the base, which are smaller and very sharp. Blenders are designed to work more with liquid ingredients such as those making up soups, sauces, purees, and smoothies. The blade in a blender rotates at a much higher speed and can chop any fibrous or hard ingredients, celery, and nuts for example, until completely smooth. This smoothness of consistency is one of the main attractions of the food blender.
A food blender is ideal for making:
- Sauces and dressings, such as mayonnaise, vinaigrette, salsas, and hummus.
- Nut butters, such as peanut, cashew and walnut.
- Smoothies, made from vegetables and sweet smoothies made from fruit, yoghurt, or ice cream.
- Frozen drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic made with crushed ice.
When using a food blender, it’s wise if you pay a little more attention before you flick the switch. We have all seen the amateur TV chef proudly pouring their latest, bright green creation into the blender jug. Only to switch the blender on and have the entire contents fountain out of the top onto everyone and everything within splashing distance.
Simply by keeping a folded tea towel over the top of the blender with your hand on top while blending will keep you safe.
Depending on the amount of cooking you do a stick blender may be a good alternative. The motor is housed in the handgrip. At the other end of the stick the blade is housed in a small plastic cup to keep the blade away from the container. While not so good at emulsifying a stick blender offers a cheap and effective way to liquidise soups and smoothies. The blade detaches from the motor making it dishwasher friendly. A stick blender will take up very little space in the kitchen.
- Simple and reliable
- Easy to clean
- Ideal if your diet includes regular smoothies/shakes
- Take care during operation – the jug contents can spill out
- Not designed for solid food
Comparison Between Food Processor And Food Blender
1946 by German company, Electrostar
1922 by Stephen Poplawski
For solid foods or ingredients requiring intensive handling
Mainly for liquids
Number of attachments
Usually only 1
Food Blender Vs Food Processor: Summing Up
The food processor and food blender carry out quite different tasks. So, you need to assess the type of work you often carry out in the kitchen. If you drink a lot of smoothies, shakes, and make sauces, dips, mayonnaise, and vinaigrette then a blender is the most likely solution. However, if you make recipes requiring a lot of slicing and chopping of ingredients then a food processor is much more likely to fit the bill. There are some models on the market, which fit the best of both worlds, combining a food processor and a food blender.