If you want to eat healthily and lose weight, you need to be able to make healthy meals in your own home. Processed and store-bought foods are all too often loaded with calories, packed with trans fats, and weighed down with sugar – none of which will help you lose weight.
Cooking can be time consuming and that’s where owning some good kitchen appliances can really help; the easier you make cooking, the more likely you are to do it yourself. Anything that saves time and makes cooking easier is worth its’ weight in gold – quite literally!
Of all the labor-saving kitchen devices I own, my most-used are my blender, food processor, and my immersion blender. Hardly a day goes past when I do not use on or more of these items.
And while they might appear similar, they are actually quite different and have different roles to play in my kitchen. You could use just one device for all your blending and processing needs but, if you want to make life as easy as possible, it’s worth getting all three.
However, it’s important to know which one to use when which is the purpose of this guide!
When to use a blender
Blenders are great for liquidizing solids to make drinks, sauces or soups. With their built in jugs, they are easy to use – just toss in your ingredients, put on the lid, and hit the start button. Then, once you are done, simply pour the blended ingredients into a glass or bowl and enjoy.
However, blenders are not all that good for liquidizing small quantities of ingredients and some are not really powerful enough to blitz things like tough vegetables, nuts or seeds. It’s also a little risky to use a blender to blitz hot liquids and, if you do, you have to be very careful.
Then there is the cleaning; blenders are easy enough to clean if you have only been processing liquids and soft fruit or veggies, but if you were trying to make something like peanut butter, expect a much harder cleaning job!
I love to make smoothies and other drinks in my blender – that’s what it was designed for, but if I need to process things like tougher vegetables or make something like ice cream or hummus, I’d probably use a different device.
Check out these awesome blender recipes here
When to use a food processor
Food processors are the closest thing you’ll find to a do-it-all kitchen helper. They chop, blend, mix, whisk, grate, and shred – all depending on the make and model you buy of course.
You can use a food processor to make anything from smoothies to bread dough; they really are very versatile.
Like a blender, I’d be wary about putting hot liquids in them however, when it comes to tough blending jobs like making peanut butter, a food processor makes life very easy indeed.
Most food processors come with a variety of interchangeable blades so you have the right tool for the right job. This is what makes food processors so useful. However, this can also make food processors more complicated to operate and they are generalists and not specialists; good at lots of things but not great at just a few things.
I like my food processor and I use it a lot to make things that I simply cannot make in my blender. This normally means mixing dry ingredients and chopping or grating things like cheese or carrots. Food processors can be expensive though and that is something important to consider.
Update: My favorite food processor recipes here.
When to use an immersion blender
The reason I like immersion blenders, also called stick blenders, is that they can be used with a variety of different containers. This makes them ideal for processing small quantities – like when making a small batch of mayonnaise for example.
Instead of having to add your ingredients to a specific bowl, as you do for a food processor, use any suitable container you like – even the one you are going to store the finished product in. This saves on washing up which is always a good thing!
Immersion blenders are also great for making soup. Simply cook your chosen ingredients in a saucepan and then, using your stick blender, blitz them together right there in the pan. This makes soup making easy and safe as you don’t have to try and pour hot ingredients into a blender or food processor – a recipe for disaster!
On the downside, immersion blenders are not really up to big processing jobs. Small blades and little motors mean they just don’t have the power of a food processor or blender so they are only really suitable for “easy” blending jobs.
Small in size, simple to use, portable, and good value, an immersion blender is a useful but probably not essential kitchen device that can make some cooking jobs very quick and easy.
My great-tasting immersion blender recipes here.
Cooking healthy food is easier when you use the right tool for the job and now you know when you should use a blender, food processor, or an immersion blender. Use the right tool for the job and you’ll save time and get the best results.