One of the real benefits of living in the modern age is our modern-day food processing equipment. Imagine how much time and effort it used to take to make homemade peanut butter or knead enough dough for a few loaves of bread. And, believe it or not, people used to have to go out for a milkshake.
The various tools known as food processing equipment are the gourmet cook’s best friends. They are used to chop, grind, mix, puree, or slice foods. Processing equipment can either be electrical or nonelectrical devices. Whichever, they all save a tremendous amount of time and effort, and no self-respecting chef should be without them.
A mandoline is a manually operated slicer. It is also used to make julienne and waffle-cut slices.
I have two mandolines. One is for slicing for a large group and the other one is to slice things for my family. The first one is very expensive and big, but is wonderful for the big jobs. The one I want to recommend fits in a drawer, is easy to use, and is ideal for the small jobs . . .
A handy item of food processing equipment, it is used to chop nuts, puree cooked foods, emulsify sauces, and compound butters. Special disks can be added that shred, julienne, or slice foods.
Food Processors are my favorite tools. I love the Cuisinart Food Processors. I make homemade bread, pesto, salad dressings, etc. in the large one, and for the small jobs like chopping nuts or making fresh breadcrumbs, I use the mini prep . . .
A blender is similar to a food processor, however, a blender has a tall, narrow food container and a four-pronged blade. It is used to process liquids or liquefy foods quickly.
I have several blenders, but it wasn’t until I bought a Blendtec that my gazpachos, vinaigrettes, smoothies, everything really were the smoothest ever, and in record time. This piece of food processing equipment is not cheap, but the time it saves and the quality of the finished product, to me is worth the money . . .
An immersion blender is also called a hand blender or wand. The immersion blender eliminates the need to transfer the food from one container to another because food can be blended in the same bowl.
When I make a soup or anything that I want my final result to be a smooth consistency, I use an immersion blender. You just stick it in the pot and turn it on. If you have ever tried putting hot ingredients in a blender, well, its not fun! The immersion blender has many uses and I think every serious cook should have one.
The three common mixing attachments are the whip, the paddle, and the dough hook. The whip is used for whipping eggs or cream. The paddle is used for general mixing. The dough hook is used for kneading bread. Some mixers can be fitted with shredder/slicers, meat grinders, juicers/power strainers, and even ice cream makers!
I love the KitchenAid Mixer! You can purchase all kinds of attachments. The one attachment I am glad I purchased is the pasta roller. Homemade pasta is the best! The KitchenAid is pricey, but it is one that will last a long time . . .
There are two types of juicers available: reamers and extractors. Reamers remove juice from citrus fruits. They are manual or electric. Juice extractors are electrical devices that create juice by liquefying raw fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
I have several juicers, but the one I use the most is a simple hand held orange juicer. I use it also for lemons and limes instead of buying a different juicer for each fruit . . .
Storage containers come in many different sizes, including some that are small enough to hold even small quantities of food without allowing too much oxygen in.
These storage containers are microwave and freezer safe. I like them because the lids are attached to the bottom.
There is hardly a recipe in my personal collection that does not require, or at least encourage, using one or more of the above examples of modern-day food processing equipment. I strongly urge you to familiarize yourself with all of them.