Seeking glass/metal food processor
March 20, 2009 7:54 AM   Subscribe

Where can I find a food processor with a glass or metal bowl? Is every food processor bowl in the world made from polycarbonate? I would like to find an alternative because of concerns with bpa.

Our most common food processor tasks are:

1) Smoothies made from frozen fruit and yogurt. The food processor needs to be able to chop up and eventually puree the frozen fruit.

2) Shredding English muffins and then blending the crumbs with parmesan cheese for coating chicken.

3) Pureeing hot soup.

I see lots of glass blenders, but a blender won't work for (2) and may not work so well for (1). Any suggestions?
posted by alms to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What about a stick blender? I use mine for all three of the above, albeit in a plastic cup for the smoothies. Biggest plus is it's super easy to clean.
posted by another zebra at 7:59 AM on March 20, 2009

In my experience, a blender does every one of those items perfectly well. We use our blender for smoothies all the time.

To answer your base, there are no food processors with glass containers, that I am aware of. I have a feeling a glass processor bowl would be more difficult to mold (the center pylon needs to be incorporated) and would be crazy heavy.

Not sure what to say about your fear of bpa other than that, since the variety of plastic used in such items have to be food-grade, they are probably the safest plastic you could use.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:07 AM on March 20, 2009

AZ --- I've heard good things about stick blenders, but I've assumed that I couldn't use them for chopping/shredding/crumbing English muffins and that they'd be questionable for crushing ice (or blending frozen fruit). You're saying they actually work for those tasks? That would be cool.
posted by alms at 8:08 AM on March 20, 2009

I have a Bravetti Food processor which has a glass bowl. What it means is that the motor that turns the chopping blades is in the lid of the bowl, and there is simply a metal spike at the bottom where the blades sit to rotate. It works OK, but like Thorzdad says, it is kinda heavy. The added advantage, though, is that everything but the motor goes in the dishwasher, and the machine can handle piping hot food without worries about the plastic cracking in high heat situations!
posted by LN at 8:14 AM on March 20, 2009

Thorzdad -- thanks for the blender feedback.

On the topic of BPA: there are growing questions of whether it should be used in food contact applications. A food processor is about the worst-case scenario for bpa leaching: high temperatures, friction, and food contact. Hence I'd like to find an alternative.
posted by alms at 8:15 AM on March 20, 2009

BPA from this source is negligible for you because of the short duration of time that your food is in contact with the surface, and the fact that it is usually not at a high temperature. You probably have other, more likely/significant sources of BPA in your home, such as cans and water bottles.
posted by Simon Barclay at 8:17 AM on March 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

For pureeing hot soups, the stick blenders are the way to go. SO much easier than ladling hot liquid into another bowl, doing it in batches, etc. And no BPA worries!

How about one of those Indian Mixie mixer-grinder things? I think those have stainless bowls.
posted by barnone at 8:37 AM on March 20, 2009

Kind of like this. I don't have one - but I know folks with that version. There are a bunch of brands out there.
posted by barnone at 8:38 AM on March 20, 2009

Robot Coupe makes professional grade food processors, here is but one, with stainless steel bowls.
posted by caddis at 8:42 AM on March 20, 2009 [2 favorites]

Frozen fruit is absolutely not a problem with the stick blender. I make smoothies every day. I'm not sure I've ever crushed ice with it...but I assume it would hold up as well as the average blender, if not a little better. Frozen strawberries are fine (which are the most ice-like of the frozen fruit world, in my mind). The thing has proved to be a powerhouse, frankly. It's been two years, and I'm kind of surprised it's held up as well as it has.

I've made breadcrumbs with it, no problem. It's perhaps not as good as the food processor, but for smaller quantities, it's totally fine.

And, yeah, for soup it's a dream.
posted by another zebra at 8:43 AM on March 20, 2009

I think there might be mixies with metal bowls--if there's an Indian community in your area, look where they shop, or maybe on ebay. They're kind of like a hybrid blender-food processor intended for Indian food prep tasks, which tend to be a little more, um, rigorous (grinding spices, grating, mixing, chopping, etc.), and would probably serve your needs better than an American-style glass-jar blender.

Also, I don't think you are looking at a "worst-case scenario" here with your standard food processor. Most of the studies examining BPA leaching use long contact times (hours, days or months) and relatively high temperatures (100C/boiling water), and see significantly higher leaching during the initial use of the product. The "worst case scenario" is a new baby bottle that is subjected to boiling and brushing, and then used to store formula or breastmilk; or cans of food with plastic liners, which are filled at high temperatures and subsequently see months or years of contact. It's worth taking a broad look at your lifestyle to identify possible BPA sources (i.e., how is that yogurt packaged? Plastic? Do you eat any canned foods?) before you drop $100-200 on a new, BPA-free appliance.

If you send me an email address, I can reply with a study or two.
posted by pullayup at 8:44 AM on March 20, 2009

I see lots of glass blenders, but a blender won't work for (2) and may not work so well for (1).

I use my Cuisinart blender (glass bowl) for all of these things. It works just as well as my food processor and is much easier to clean. (It makes *great* bread crumbs. Just dry the bread out some before chopping.)
posted by mudpuppie at 9:08 AM on March 20, 2009

If you want a stick blender, consider Bamix. Swiss quality, very versatile and used by professional chefs.
posted by iviken at 2:01 PM on March 20, 2009

Thanks to all for these good suggestions.

Pullayup, thanks for the offer. I'm pretty familiar with the literature on BPA, though I haven't been following it as closely the last year or so. One thing I didn't mention about our food processor is that it is about twelve years old, and it spent the first ten of those years being washed in the dishwasher. Everything I've read (from Vom Saal, Patricia Hunt, etc) indicates that leaching increases with age and with exposure to repeated high-heat washing. You're right --- there are probably other exposure routes that are more significant, but this seems like one that is very obvious and should be easy to get rid of.

With the answers above, it looks like I'll be able to do that. Thanks all.
posted by alms at 2:09 PM on March 20, 2009

Ooh! I've totally got you on this one! If you're okay with pre-owned; go for a vintage Vita-Mix with the steel container! Not my auction and I don't even know this guy but an example here. About 10 years ago a dear friend gave me an ancient one dating from some time in the early 50's; IT'S FANTASTIC. At fifty years old the motor runs perfectly, it can chop/grind/blend/destroy anything you want it to, and it even makes margaritas. I dearly love my stick blender too (I have this Kitchenaid one) and it really is capable of doing everything the folks above said it does. But if you want a standalone machine, try an old vitamix.
posted by cuddles.mcsnuggy at 5:32 PM on March 20, 2009

« Older Time for a Third Bank of the U.S.?   |   Wrapped up like a douche. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.