A newly purchased food processor comes with a small manual. Most of the content included is related to safety and warranty information. Little is dedicated to getting optimal performance from your new kitchen appliance. This can lead to frustration on the part of the user and eventual complete abandonment of the food processor.
It doesn’t have to be this way. A properly used food processor can give you invaluable assistance in the kitchen when used properly. It can become quite indispensable once you are familiar with the inherent limitations and intended uses. Here are a few tips to help you along the way:
- Never use the food processor for something too hard for your kitchen knives. The blades are meant to perform as well as a good knife and as such they come with the same limitations. Never use them to chop ice or grind hard spices.
- The pulse button is the most crucial tool to master. It is how you will control the speed of processing and therefore how you will determine the texture of the finished product. Always use short bursts until you get the hang of it. Press the button for one quick second and let go;continue on this way until you are comfortable with the pulse feature.
- There are certain times when you will need to keep your ingredients cool. Any motor will give off heat, although heat output is minimal in more efficient models. Counteract this by chilling the bowl and blades in the refrigerator for 15 minutes prior to starting the project. Examples of when this will be helpful include when making butter, whipping cream or preparing a pastry crust.
- Use appropriately sized batches. The best volume to work with will vary from machine to machine. In general, you never want to fill the bowl more than halfway with liquids or three-quarters with solid foods.
- Recognize the limitations on the other side of the size scale. A few garlic cloves in a 14 cup bowl will not have very much contact with the blade. As a result, the cloves will not be evenly chopped and chunks will stick to the side of the bowl. Your best bet is to use a smaller machine or bowl, or to chop small projects by hand.
- When using the food processor to emulsify, slowly add the oil through the feed tube while it is running. Adding oil too quickly will cause it to pool within the dressing or mayonnaise rather than creating the desired emulsification.
- Spend a minute or two at the beginning of meal preparation to think about how the food processor can help. Having a plan will prevent you from realizing you could be using your food processor halfway through a task.
These are a few basic tenets of proper food processor usage. Simply knowing these seven crucial items can avoid annoyance and countless headaches. Remember, the food processor is there to help you, not to cause more problems. If you follow these guidelines and are still struggling, it may be time to shop for a better model.