Food processor - what to look for?

jennieboyer(8)January 14, 2013

Hi All,

I think I need to break down and get a food processor - I'm just making my life difficult by not having one. I want to get a decent one, but not top of hte line. Any recommendations on brand/etc? What are the "must have" options and what can I live without? Thanks!

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pqtex

Same here. All I have right now is a mini processor. Okay size for chopping small amounts, but not adequate for the bigger needs I have. Has to be easy to use and clean up, too!

Jill

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 9:41AM
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soonergrandmom

I had never had anything except a tiny one either and didn't use it very much. A few months ago I got a new Bosch mixer, and bought the slicer/shredder, blender, food processor, and some other attachments at the same time, along with a new grain mill because mine was very old. I use some of this equipment everyday, and usually several times, but I have never found a reason to use the food processor and think I probably could have done without it. Maybe someday I will find a use for it, but it hasn't happened yet.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 6:41PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

For me I'd look for large capacity, ease of removal from the base (some seem to call for 2 people and 4 hands to get the darn thing off the base), and ease of clean-up.

Dave

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 7:19PM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

I've got an older Cuisinart I found on craigslist for $30.
I love it. I often use it when making dips, guacamole, chopping peppers and onions finely for salsa, "cutting in" fats for pastry, etc. If you grate a lot of cheese, it makes short work of that (zucchini for breads or freezing too). I don't find that I used the slicer blade very often.
Great for pureeing sauces if you don't use a stick blender or standard blender.

If you're not a heavy user, I think any of them will work for you. You should be able to buy one in the $25 range and see how you like it. If you wear it out, upgrade a bit next time.

Deanna

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 7:23PM
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david52 Zone 6

Consumer reports did something on food processors recently, their top pick was some $400 Miel or something, their "best buy" was a $100 Kitchen Aid.

I use an 11 cup Cuisinart. This is the 2nd food processor we've owned, the first one had the bowl break after 20 years, and by that time, the company had gone out of business and no replacement available.

Its very easy to keep clean and plenty powerful. We use it a couple times a week, re-fried beans, hummus, pestos, garlic, onion, etc. and almost constantly during canning season.

Here is a link that might be useful: what we have

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 12:49PM
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defrost49

I'm on my second Cuisinart but use it less since I got a stand mixer and use an immersion blender for soups. It is easy to remove the bowl. In this weekend's sales flyers one store was doing a blow out sale for $79.95 on the model that usually runs $245. But, if you can find one of Craigslist, that would be great. I use the shredding blade a lot since I make a large batch of cole slaw for the summer church suppers.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 8:26AM
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pduck42(7)

I have the 9 cup Cuisinart food processor and I love it. It has about 4 different blades for shredding, chopping, slicing and grinding. Can make bread dough, and all the rest of stuff we do with veggies, fruit, onions etc. Works great. Cost $150 ish I think at Lowes. Easy to clean up and looks nice on counter in stainless steel and I dont' have to pick it up and move it around much.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 10:24PM
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Canology

We like the Ninja and there is one made by Excalibur as well. Both will get the job done right.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 7:08AM
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constyosousa

I also had the same feeling: I really need to start making life easier and get a food processor!
After some research reading online reviews I guess my favorite is the Cuisinart Prep 11 plus. First and foremost the bowl size seems the ideal to process decent amounts of fruits and veggies. Secondly, and maybe more important, is that it has a pulse feature, that allows you to chop or grid or slice the food with the perfect consistency, instead of just pureeing everything!
It also has a dough function, that will not allow the motor to overheat. I do not know about you, but I love to bake, and when you put the dry ingredients the dough gets too hard and can break the machine's motor. So this dough feature will automatically protect the motor, not letting the machine overwork. I will definitely get this one. Actually, I have just publicly asked my husband for one :) Check here :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Cuisinart Prep 11 Plus - Why I really want this food processor!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 8:09PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

When I bought my food processor, I spent a lot of time looking at the professional reviews to make sure I was not wasting my money. At the time, the recommendations were Cuisinart and KitchenAid. I found a KitchenAid at Tuesday morning and loved it. I particularly liked that it also had a smaller bowl for doing herbs, etc in. I need to get a new bowl for it (totally my fault) and I miss it since it has been out of commission. I like it for pasta dough, if I am making just one pie crust, chopping things for meatloaf, etc. I use to think it was a waste of money because it could not do anything I cannot do with a knife which is true, but it does it faster. I also love the shredder disk for making potato latkes, no more skinned knuckles!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 10:07PM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

I do have one of the larger Cuisinarts with the multiple nesting bowls. While very nice, and it's easy to get caught up in the claims of it because of the versatility, it probably is more than it sounds like you want.

"must haves": the slicer or shredder disk. I do love that this one has a reversible shredder for large and small. I don't use the separate slicer disk very much because DH is a chef, we have good knives and good knife skills. But it is adjustable, which is helpful. The pulse feature is also very needed in my opinion.

Nice features--this one comes with a separate box for all the accessories--with the multiple bowls, it has 2 different blades, plus a plastic bread one. I do kind of wish it came with a blunt edge one for herbs, but it doesn't and that's an obscure want.

Downsides: The multiple bowl sizes are nice, but I do find that we rarely use the smaller ones (I also have a 4c processor that we had prior). There are a few things that they're needed for, but when using the smallest bowl I do find that I still have to wash all three, since things leak down the sides. I also find that the top for this must be run through the dishwasher, as it gets stuff under the seal that I can't get out by hand. I think it has to do with the adjustments needed for the nesting bowls. It also has the power/size for bread, but I find that it's too noisy for too long, and we rarely use it for that.

All that said, I do love our processor, and would still consider it again knowing all that I know now. But, it is large, takes up a lot of space, and you have to use it enough to justify that.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 11:08AM
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myfamilysfarm

Do you recommend a food processor over a blender? I've been thinking about getting one to help with my jams and jellies.

Marla

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 11:35AM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

To me, a food processor is more multifunctional for the space it takes (I use it just as much for shredding). I quit buying blenders a while ago since I wasn't using them much--have a stick model, but had such bad luck with upright blenders wearing out too quickly that I decided they weren't worth it to me. A processor can also handle dryer stuff whereas a blender needs liquid.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 3:54PM
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myfamilysfarm

I did buy a stick blender and have used it a couple of times. Unfortunately I bought it after I was done with the jams and haven't started back up yet. The blender that I have isn't very powerful, so it doesn't do much. Collects dust more than anything else.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 7:42PM
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nancedar(z7NC)

myfamilysfarm - I don't recommended that you use a blender or a food processor for jams. They put too much air in the fruit and you'll get tiny bubbles forever in the finished jar of jam. I'd recommend a Foley food mill for smashing fruit.
Nancy

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 8:40AM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

Nancy,

I do use my stick blender for jams without adding the air pockets as a regular fp or blender might. You just have to keep it under the jam level or you can suck a bit of air down, but it's nice to be able to do all in pan. I love it, since I'm not a fan of large pieces of fruit.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 7:42PM
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myfamilysfarm

At this time, I use my potato masher, but the fruit is too large. I'm hoping that the stick blender will reduce the size of fruit without having to cut the fruit in smaller pieces.

I will say the strawberry jam that I made is delicious, and I don't like strawberries.

Marla

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 7:56PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

I have had a food process for 35 years or more. So, I have used it from the time I had babies to the present time when my nest consists of my husband, his 85 year old mother, and me. When I was cooking big meals, the time saved chopping onions, celery, etc. was far more than the time spent washing the food processor, bowl, lid, and blades. (Yes, you can put all those things in the dishwasher, but boy do they ever fill up the top of the dishwasher fast.)

Now, not so much. I can get out a paring knife or chef's knife and chop my one onion, one stalk of celery, and wash that knife in very little more time than it takes to put the processor together, much less wash and dry it all.

That being said, when I am doing big cooking, like at the holidays, I am very glad to still have a food processor. On those days, when I am chopping pounds of onions and whole stalks of celery, pounds of nuts, etc., it's more than worth having.

I have let the blender go by the wayside over the years. The food processor does everything it can do and more. I do like my little immersion blender from time to time.

I do not use my FP for making bread. I have a Zoji bread machine for that, and I will never want to be without that.

I make pie crust by hand with a steel pastry cutter. It makes a bit bigger mess, but the quality of the crust is far better than any I was ever able to make in the FP.

I have a Victorio Food Mill, so I don't use my Food Processor in canning, except if I am making relishes with onions and garlic. I probably don't even need to use it then, but I don't want the allium smells in the Victorio's parts.

I confess that I have grown lazy and buy most cheese already shredded now. But when I was cooking for a crowd, I used my FP shredder blade a lot. It saves money and time without a doubt.

I have had Cuisinart, KitchenAid, and an inexpensive one that came from WalMart years ago. You know what? They have all performed basically the same, though the inexpensive one was louder. The Cuisinart and Kitchen Aid lasted longer, but probably not enough to justify the extra expense. Nevertheless, I have a KitchenAid right now and I really do like it. I would hate to be without, but the day may come when I need the counter space more.

Our needs do change as time passes.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 5:06PM
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Kat223

If you want real review check out kitchen gadgets they review based on customer feedback. I personally went for quality over kenwoods cheap qualtiy. KitchenAid is more of a good build.

Here is a link that might be useful: food processor reviews

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 8:04AM
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myfamilysfarm

I finally decided to get a food processor, and still I'm a Kitchenaid gal (from birth, I think) I found and got a 13 cup Kitchenaid with the smaller cup and all the attachments in a nice plastic box, for about $150.00. The box had been crushed on 1 corner, but new otherwise. Regularly $200.

I normally prep my fruit ahead of time, then freeze it. I get more juice out of it this way, without having to add sugar. So I not sure how that will affect the air in the fruit. I've pretty well conquered the fruit float, with lots of patience.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 1:27PM
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coffeehaus(7a Central VA)

Another vote here for Kitchen Aid. I bought one about 7 years ago after having had a Cuisinart for a number of years. The bowl on the Cuisinart broke, and the replacement bowl was nearly the price of a new machine. It seems to me that the KA is more sturdy (and heavier, so if you have problems moving a heavy appliance, this may not be the one for you) than the Cuisinart
I use my processor frequently and wouldn't want to have a kitchen without one.
You may also want to search or post this question on the Appliances forum in the Homes Forum on Garden web.

Here is a link that might be useful: Appliances Forum

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 1:10PM
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msmarieh(Z5/N IL)

I have a KitchenAid which hubby had bought me several years ago. For regular cooking I don't use it all that much. However, for large scale cooking, I definitely pull it out (and I do that fairly regularly).

I use the slicing and shredding discs most often. I use mine for pureeing (though not for jams/jellies - as Ball recommends against this - they stated that not only could it incorporate air, but it also could reduce the natural pectin in the fruit and cause issues with the set of the jam - I need to research that more, but avoid the food processor just in case). I especially like it for chopping things like cranberries, which are a big royal pain the neck with a knife and cutting board (they roll around too much).

When canning, I have used it with the cranberry recipes, the lemonade concentrates, salsas, soups, pickles, etc.

Could I live without it? If I didn't can or bulk cook, definitely. But since I do, I'm glad I don't have to. :)

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 7:26AM
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