There are lots of complaints about food processors. Some folks say that food processors are too clunky, or take up too much room, or are redundant when you've got a blender on hand. I'd like to thoroughly argue against these points.
My food processor is a magical tool that I pull out at least 4 times a week (sometimes, I just keep on the counter for efficiency!) and is totally worth the investment, space, clean-up, or whatever argument people have against it. And, if you've got one tucked away in a box somewhere just waiting to be donated to the thrift store, here's my argument for you to reconsider.
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Food processors aren't usually the top of the young-adult-moving-out list, or the wedding registry, or even the hope-to-snag-at-a-garage-sale vision board. They're often neglected until the holidays and used to one-tenth of their potential. But, food processors are actually one of the most handy kitchen tools in your arsenal. The KitchenAid 7-Cup Food Processor is one of the sturdiest, most reliable options around, but you can also find smaller food processors (like the one I have – this 3.5 cup version) if you're limited on space. Here are five reasons you need one:
1. You can shred cheese!
If you think that the only purpose of your food processor is to puree sauces and make hummus, you are totally wrong. You can shred an entire block of cheese through the chute of a food processor in under three minutes, and you won't be up on your tip-toes with a metal grater trying to get those last few chunks of cheese into shreds. Food processors are also great for making pie dough, cutting butter into flour, chopping up veggies for anything and everything, blending salad dressings, and even making truffle batter (which, may be my favorite reason). Food processors also have an uncanny way with nuts. Unlike blenders, where you need a significant amount of moisture in the bottom to get the consistency you're looking for, food processors have sharper blades and crazy powerful motors that cut through nuts quickly and can even whip up nut butters. If you're not convinced, they're also a much less messy way to grind meat and combine ingredients for meatballs.
2. They're incredibly easy to clean.
Most food processors can be taken apart and thrown into the dishwasher. This is key when it comes to post-dinner cleanup, and may, in itself, totally make the food processor worth it for your family.
3. All dips are silkier.
If you are leaning towards the dip side of things, a food processor takes the MVP role during tailgate season. Not only can you make a delicious fresh pico with finely processed veggies, but you'll also notice a visible difference in the texture of dips coming from the blender vs. the food processor. Again, the motor of a food processor is typically stronger, which means that the blades cut through chickpeas much more thoroughly. And, food processors are designed to circulate the food around a wider area, while blenders push food upwards (meaning that the bottom is usually a different texture than the top). Hummus is creamier, pesto is finer, guacamole is softer, and homemade mayonnaise only takes 3 minutes to make.
4. It takes the place of, like, 6 different kitchen tools.
If you've been counting, we've already gotten rid of a cheese grater, a sharp knife, a blender, a whisk, a pastry cutter, a garlic press... Point is, taking advantage of your food processor means that you can make one recipe without dirtying four bowls and every knife you own. If you need to keep flavors separate, give the plastic portion of the food processor a quick rinse (or, throw a drop of dish soap and water in there and pulse a few times) before snapping it back into place and continuing along your way.
5. It'll make cooking healthy food much more accessible.
I only starting using my food processor recently, surprisingly enough. I'd had it for about two years, and it was, as many do, gathering dust in the back corner of one of my cupboards. When I started the Whole30 diet in February (a diet that focuses on whole foods), I pulled it out and started making my own mayonnaise. I rinsed it out, and made my own date-and-nut bars, almond butter, pasta sauce, cashew sauce, and pesto. It made life so much simpler. When I get home at 6PM from work, the last thing I want to do is chop veggies all night. Using my food processor encourages me to cook from scratch – because I know it'll be much easier than me dirtying a whole sink full of dishes. It's 110% worth the investment, if you don't already have one.
The most important thing to remember is that you have to use your food processor. The more you use it, the more comfortable you'll be with saying, "I'll bet I could throw that in there!" Give it a chance to make your life easier, and I promise that it won't disappoint.