Food prepping can consist of a large number of tasks, anywhere from slicing vegetables for sandwiches to blending up a mixture of vegetables for a delicious stew. There are a variety of food preparation tools on the market, all designed to achieve specific tasks. Today we are going to take a look at the difference between manually operated prep tools and powered food prep tools, the different variations and what each one is designed for.
Manual Prep Tools vs. Powered Food Prep Equipment
When it comes to choosing between manual food prep tools and food processors, they often both can accomplish the same task. However, you will want to keep in mind the volume that you are looking to produce, safety and consistency.
POWERED FOOD PREP EQUIPMENT
If you are running a high-volume operation, it would make most sense to invest in a powered food prep tool. One of the greatest strengths of powered food prep equipment is the ability to process a high volume of food in a short period of time. Powered food preparation equipment is also the safer option, as most units come with built in safety features. Below is a list of commonly used powered food preparation equipment and what they are each designed for.
COMMERCIAL FOOD PROCESSOR
With a food processor you can chop, dice, slice, puree and more, all in one unit. Food processors are best used for slicing and julienning vegetables for soups, sauces, salsas and stir fry. When fitted with specific attachments you can also dice and chop vegetables. Another great feature about food processors is that they can accomplish multiple tasks, and many come with interchangeable blades, and prep kits for specific tasks.
COMMERCIAL CUTTER MIXER
A cutter mixer is the perfect tool for processing large amounts of finely chopped ingredients, soups, pureed fillings for baking, salsas, and sauces. Because this piece of equipment has blades that spin at a higher speed, they are capable of producing higher end products in a short amount of time.
COMMERICAL FOOD BLENDER
The best time to use a commercial blender is when your primary ingredient is liquid-based, like in smoothies, purees, and sauces. A bar blender is what you should consider if you want to crush ice because they are made specifically for that purpose.
COMMERCIAL IMMERSION BLENDER
You will want to consider investing in a commercial immersion blender when your main priority is to produce hot puree products while they’re cooked. An immersion blender has the ability to process batches of sauces and salsas inside the containers they are stored in to save time. These food prep tools come in a variety of sizes depending on your desired needs.
MANUAL FOOD PROCESSING EQUIPMENT
Manual food processing equipment often can achieve the same tasks or similar to powered food preparation tools, however manual food prep tools are often designed to cater to one specific task, whereas powered food prep tools are versatile and made for multiple functions. Here is a list of manual food prep tools.
FRENCH FRY CUTTER
The name of the product speaks for itself on this one, French fry cutters are designed to slice potatoes into ½ or ¼ fries. These units can either be mounted to a food prep table or a wall.
Food choppers are a multipurpose tool made to produce consistent results for salad toppings, garnishes, and sides. In contrast to models with interchangeable cartridges, some food choppers have fixed models that only allow a single type of cut.
Usually, a variety of vegetables are cut into thin slices using vegetable slicers. Typically, a vegetable slicer is used to produce uniform slices from produce like onions, cucumbers, lettuce, and more for toppings on sandwiches and salads. Depending on the model, some come with interchangeable blades and allow you change the slice's thickness.
This is another tool where the name speaks for itself. Tomato slicers are designed to slice and hundreds of uniformed tomatoes to top off sandwiches and hamburgers. Tomato slicers also eliminate the difficulties of cutting soft tomatoes by hand and speed up the overall production time.
Fruit wedgers are designed to slice fruits into evenly sized wedges while also removing the cores. These are commonly used for slicing fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges, and apples.
A lettuce shredder is best used when you need to produce a large amount of shredded lettuce for salads or sandwiches. When using a lettuce shredder, you also save a lot of preparation time and are able to reduce product waste by utilizing the whole head of lettuce.
We hope this buyers guide can steer you in the right direction when purchasing new food preparation equipment. At Cook's, we carry a large variety of food preparation prodcuts from well-known brands like Robot Coupe, Kitchen Aid, Vollrath, and more. If you have any questions feel free to give our sales team a call, we are happy to assist you.