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Food processors, blenders go their separate ways

Published Oct. 1, 2005

(ran SP edition)

Don't confuse your food processor with your blender. They have different talents, and one is not a replacement for the other.

Blenders do shakes, smoothies, silky soups and sauces. Food processors, grate, julienne, slice, grind and cut shortening into flour. Processors do not whip air into egg whites or cream, grind ice or coffee beans. Neither do blenders.

A complete kitchen includes a processor, coffee grinder, spice grinder, ice crusher, electric mixer and a blender.

Blenders handle liquids; processors do not. Pieces of foods just twirl around in the liquid medium, and processors leak when filled full of liquid.

In a blender, you must add liquid to puree solid pieces. To puree in a processor, you do not add liquid. In other words, to puree soup in your processor, process only the solids, then whisk the puree into the liquid by hand.

As for coffee beans, some direction booklets with processors say go ahead and grind them, but the shape and torque of the processor blade is not well-suited to this task.