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Food Prep Buying Guide

Well thought out food preparation can make cooking much smoother – especially when you’re cooking for lots of people or planning a 3-course meal. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend hours chopping, mixing and blending. This guide will help you choose the gadgets to help make all types of food prep quicker and easier.

What type of food preparation do you want to do?

Baking (Food mixers)

Chopping, slicing, mincing (Food processors/choppers & grinders)

Soups and liquids (Blenders and soupmakers)

Drinks (Juicers and smoothie makers)

Everything you need for whipping up sweet and savoury treats

Best for baking

Stand mixer

Stand mixers take all the arm ache out of manual mixing, whipping, and kneading, and make getting that perfect consistency as easy as the flick of a switch. Look out for ‘food mixers’ too, they do the same thing, but just have a different name.

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Hand mixer

A smaller version of a stand mixer, these are great for those smaller baking jobs like beating eggs, mixing icing, or forming batter. And because these ones come without a bowl, you can use them with any mixing bowl you have – big or small.

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Key features of stand mixers

Size

If you like to bake big, (we’re talking around two cakes at once) you’ll need a bowl with at least a 500ml capacity. Stand mixers can be quite big pieces of kit, so make sure you have enough room on your kitchen counter or in your cupboards too.

Speed

If you do a variety of different baking, you’ll want different speed settings for different tasks. Slow speeds are generally better for mixing dry ingredients… go too fast and you could get a cloud of flour in your face. While a bit of speed can be handy for creaming butter and making frosting.

Style

How it looks in your kitchen is a big deal. You could add a pop of colour with a classic red or go for a cool grey – the choice is yours. You can even choose your preferred metal finish, whether that’s brushed or polished.

Attachments

Most stand mixers will come with a beater for mixing, a dough hook for kneading, and a whisk for… well, whisking. Look out for added extras you might want, like a splashguard. This will cover the mixing bowl when it’s in use and stop ingredients from flying out over the sides.

Key features of hand mixers

Speed

The more speed settings that your hand mixer has, the more control and flexibility you have over your creations. The pace of your mixer can make all the difference when it comes to finding the right consistency.

Weight

This is all about getting the balance between a mixer that’s heavy enough to stand up on its end without falling over, and one that’s light enough to fluff frosting for 5 minutes without your arm feeling like it’s going to fall off. Anything 700-900g should be good.

Pulse

Some mixers come with a pulse function that uses a small burst of power whenever you need it, so you’ll never over-egg the pudding! Perfectionists should look out for this little added extra.

Storage

A storage stand is a really useful addition to a hand mixer. It keeps all of the accessories and attachments close by when you’re mixing. So, if you need to turn that blend into a chop or a slice, you’ll never need to scramble around to find the right attachments.

Must-have essentials for everyday meal preparation

Best for chopping, slicing & mincing

Food processor

A food processor is the jack of all trades in the cooking world. Standard processors will come with kit to slice and dice, dough hooks, and julienne blades – great for cutting veg into shapes the kids might eat. Some models include even more attachments; there’s more on that below.

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Chopper

With a chopper, all your ingredients are taken care of in a flash, so you can wave goodbye to those tears you shed when you prepare onions by hand. Smaller than a standard food processor, these are better for working with reduced quantities and spaces with little storage.

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Grinder

If you want to join the homemade burger revolution or love to make your own salsas, or even baby food, then a grinder is perfect. They’re ideal for meats, fish and veg. You could even whip up your own spice mixes.

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Key features of a food processor

Size

It’s important to consider how much space you have on the worktop for your new kitchen assistant. Some models are designed to be compact, but be sure to check that these smaller models still have the power you want. You’ll also find that some models come with integrated storage - like the Kenwood MultiPro Excel – great for keeping track of all the attachments.

Speed

Food processors have different speed levels, which are perfect for different ingredients. Lower speeds are ideal for chopping and slicing fruit and veg while those higher settings are sure to crack any tough nuts!

Accessories

In addition to basics for chopping, slicing, and mixing, some models come with lots of additional attachments for different things, including easily grinding up nuts, herbs and spices. You can easily find out what tools and accessories each food processor comes with - just check out the 'What's In The Box' section when you're looking at a product.

Style

We’ve got a wide variety of different styles and colours, so you can pick one that’s easy on the eye, from classically retro to sleek and modern. Plus, there’s a whole palette of amazing colours, like eye-popping reds to pastel pinks.

Blades

Good quality stainless steel blades will be found on most appliances. Stainless steel will perform well for most tasks and is easy to clean. Plastic ones are better for some tasks though, like kneading dough.

Cleaning

After making nut butters, sauces and all kinds of different dishes in a food processor, cleaning each part can seem like a daunting task. Luckily, plenty of food processors are dishwasher safe, so it’ll be a breeze to get every last bit squeaky clean.

Key features of choppers and grinders

Speed

A range of speed settings allow you to control how fast or slow the appliance works to break down your ingredients. The more speeds you have to choose from, the more flexibility you have over the size, consistency and shape of what you’re chopping or grinding. If you like your veg chunky, go slow and for a fine grind of nuts, simply pick up the pace.

Size

Choppers and grinders have quite modest capacities compared to food mixers or processors, and this makes them ideal if you only plan on using them to mix up a small amount of ingredients - a handful of vegetables or some herbs or nuts for example.

Accessories

Choppers tend to come with an S-shape blade, while grinders will have more propellers to achieve the finer consistency needed. With fewer attachments and accessories than a food processor, it’s much easier to find room on your kitchen counter or inside the cupboard.

Cleaning

Most choppers and grinders are really easy to take apart, with most bits able to go straight in the dishwasher for easy cleaning. It means you don’t have to worry about making mess with the mixer, and can just focus on getting all the right flavours together.

Everything you need for those hearty winter warmers

Best for soups & liquids

Blender

Stand blenders come with a blade at the bottom, making them the perfect all-in-one blender and a great ice crusher. Hand blenders have a small blade at the bottom of the ‘wand’, so you can blend straight into a pan or a bowl. It’s also good for just quickly blending small quantities.

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Soup maker

Just like a blender, but with an additional heat feature, a soup maker will blend all your ingredients together and heat it at the same time. You can cook a warming tomato soup or a classic leek and potato in about 20-30 minutes, and all you have to do is add the ingredients. Easy.

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Key features of a blender

Power

When it comes to blending, power is everything. The higher the wattage, the harder your blender will work to break down ingredients quickly and efficiently. If you’re looking to break down tougher foods like seeds and nuts, you’re better off with a model that has a wattage of 1000 or more.

Speed

More speed settings give you more control over your blend. Some softer fruits only need a gentle pulse, while other tougher ingredients will need breaking down with a blast of speed. Most blenders have at least 2 pace settings and this can go up to as many as 15.

Cleaning

Hand blenders are super easy to clean with most wands disconnecting from the motor and power cord, so you can pop it straight in the dishwasher or hand wash safely. Similarly, most blenders can be taken apart for easy cleaning too.

Accessories

With most blenders you get a range of accessories included with the product. Some of the most common additions are whisks and mashers – that’s your main course and dessert taken care of! There are even some that come with choppers, slicing discs and shredders that make preparing vegetables and meats quick and simple.

Key features of a soup maker

Size

Soup makers come in lots of different sizes, from compact 1 litre options to over double that size. If you like to make soup in big batches of around 6 to 8 portions, look for a soup maker that’s around 2 litres. Or if a couple of servings will suit you just fine, a 1 litre option will be perfect – and easier to fit in the cupboard too.

Blending options

Everyone has a preference when it comes to the perfect soup, but whether you like it chunky and rustic or silky smooth, most soup makers come with both settings for you to choose from. Keep an eye out for additional features, like sautéing for cooking your ingredients for added flavour, and juicing that’ll blend without heat for making fruity drinks.

Cooking time

If you need to cook up a soup from scratch in your lunch hour, some models can have a soup ready in just 10 minutes! However, most will cook the ingredients first, which can result in a better flavour, and this will still only take around 20 or 30 minutes.

Cleaning

Speedy soup making is all well and good, but not if it takes you double the time to clean up afterwards. Many soup makers come with parts that you can pop straight in the dishwasher for ease. If you’re hand washing, a non-stick coating or a pre-cleaning setting to loosen any stubborn bits stuck to the sides can make all the difference.

What you need to make your own juices, shakes and smoothies

Best for drinks

Juicer

Whether you want to make a classic apple juice or an exotic mango and pineapple, a juicer will extract the pulp and skin, leaving you with fresh, tasty juice. There are fast juicers, which can juice ingredients quickly, but use a lot of heat to do so, which can make your juices warm. Slow juicers use a different technique which takes a little longer.

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Smoothie maker

A smoothie maker blends fruit and veg into a tasty drink. They work a bit like jug blenders, except they dispense the blended drink into a single portion. If you want to crush ice as part of your recipes - you might want to look at high powered smoothie makers and blenders.

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Key features of a juicer

Fast juicers (centrifugal)

Fast juicers – or centrifugal juicers – use powerful blades to slice and dice your fruit and veg with no fuss. The ingredients are quickly shredded and separated from any pulp, leaving you with a delicious drink in no time. So even if you’re in a rush before you head to work, you’ll always have time to get your 5-a-day off to a great start.

Slow juicers (masticating/cold press)

Sometimes called cold-press or masticating juicers, these are proof that good things take time. They squeeze and press the juice out of your fruit and veg to get every last bit of goodness out. Perfect for small fruits or berries, they’re also really handy with tougher ingredients like spinach, kale and wheatgrass.

Size

Our juicers come in a variety of sizes, starting at around 1 litre. Larger models, up to 5 litres in size, have more room for ingredients to create delicious fruit juices. Keep an eye out for wide feed chutes too, as these can easily juice larger fruit and veg with ease. Plus, it saves chopping time.

Cleaning

Making juices can get messy, there’s lots of waste and usually lots of parts too. That’s why you want a juicer that makes pulp easy to empty and ideally parts that go in the dishwasher. If you’re hand washing keep an eye out for juicers that come with fewer parts.

Key features of a smoothie maker

Size

Our range of smoothie makers come in a variety of sizes, so there’s something perfect for every mealtime. If your model has a few different jugs, a 0.3 litre one is a great way to start the day, while a 0.7 litres portion makes for a perfect lunchtime smoothie.

Power

The higher the power, the harder your smoothie maker will work to crush, mix and blend those fruits and veggies. Smoothie makers vary a great deal; in power with models from around 250 watts right up to 1000. Look out for ice crushing features on higher power models.

Style

Whether you’re starting a new health routine or replacing an old smoothie maker, you need one that reflects your taste. We’ve got models in classic black or white, a nice green to match your healthy lifestyle, or products with a sleek metallic finish that’ll sit nicely in a modern kitchen.

Versatility

Many smoothie makers come with cups for drinking your concoctions straight away, as well as storage containers or additional bottles too, which is great for making a pre and post-workout smoothie in one go. Some also come with additional features like ice-crushing modes or pre-set blending patterns so you can get the perfect consistency every time.

All-in-one appliances

Because food prep can mean everything from grating garlic and cutting veg to making a juice to go with your meal, there are some appliances designed to do more. The Sage Bluicer blends and juices. Simply switch attachments depending on which function you want to use.

Shop the Sage Bluicer

FAQs

What’s the difference between a food processor and a blender?
Which is better, a food processor or food mixer?
Which is the most powerful blender?
Which is the best all rounder for food preparation?
Are blender jugs dishwasher safe?
What’s a twin gear juicer?
Can I put food processor parts in a dishwasher?
What’s the best food processor?
How does a meat grinder work?
Is a smoothie maker the same as a blender?
Is it worth buying a food processor?
Which is the best soup maker?
What’s the difference between a food processor and a mini chopper?