If you’ve ever prepared a meal at any point in your life, you likely had to cut or chop up some vegetables. This process may seem fine at first, but if you’re someone who cooks frequently, or has to prepare meals for multiple people, chopping up a bunch of vegetables all the time can be very tedious, and get old very, very quickly.
Fortunately, kitchen items have always seemed to be at the forefront of technology and innovation, and now there’s a ton of different options when it comes to chopping veggies up.
Vegetable choppers are always improving, and now there are plenty of types to choose from, most of which are dependent on preferences. So, if you’re looking to add a vegetable chopper to your kitchen inventory, but aren’t sure where to start, you’re in the right place.
This guide will get you up to speed on what these handy little inventions can do, why you need one, and take a look at the basic types you can choose from — with some much simpler than others.
What Are Vegetable Choppers?
This is fairly self-explanatory: vegetable choppers chop vegetables (and possibly some other foods as well.) This broad description leaves room for anything from a knife to cheese grater, so let’s dig a little deeper.
Vegetable choppers in the culinary world are any devices that can be used to quickly chop, cut, slice, mince, julienne, or whatever other term you want to use in reference to altering the state of a vegetable.
These gadgets can range in size, operation, power source, and overall capabilities, but at the end of the day, they all chop vegetables.
Why Use One?
Vegetable choppers can not only save you plenty of time, they can also produce better results, are typically safer, and also easier to use than relying on your knife skills.
The primary reason for someone to use a vegetable chopper in any form is usually to add an element of convenience to their food preparation. Like we said earlier, cutting up vegetables can be tedious, and if you have a lot to do, it can become more of an annoyance at times.
For example, think about dicing up an onion. The process requires a lot of cutting, and a lot of precision in order to keep things the same size. A vegetable chopper saves you from all of the cutting and chopping, often doing the chop in a few seconds.
Furthermore, some vegetable choppers let you cut up multiple veggies at the same time. Doesn’t get much more convenient than that.
Getting consistent sizes when cutting vegetables in not always the easiest thing, especially if you have a lot of prep work to do. Vegetable choppers can often be depended on to quickly cut up a piece of produce, with exact sizes for each piece.
Prepping vegetables doesn’t always seem like it’s going to take that long initially, but when you’re finally done cutting everything up, it’s not uncommon for a lot more time to have elapsed than you planned for.
Vegetable choppers are one of the most efficient tools you’ll ever use in the kitchen. They can take a 5-minute cutting task and produce results almost instantly. If you have a lot to cut up, the time saved can be very drastic, leaving you more time to focus on other aspects, or even allow you to make up some time.
Let’s face it, even the best chefs are prone to a knife slip here and there, resulting in some pretty serious cuts from time to time. The design of most vegetable choppers allows for quick and easy cutting, without any risk of being cut, dropping a knife, etc.
Types of Vegetable Choppers
Vegetable choppers come in many forms. Here are the most common types you’ll encounter.
Mandolines are one of the oldest styles of vegetable choppers, and remain the favorite of many home and professional chefs around the world. While there are some different forms of mandolines, they usually have a design that involves a long platform with a blade in the center.
To use one, you simply slide the vegetable back and forth across the platform over the blade, almost as if you are scrubbing the vegetable onto the surface. Each pass by the blade results in a consistent slice being cut off. Most models have different blades you can swap out for different consistencies.
A hand-held vegetable chopper allows you to hold the device in one hand, and operate it with the other, sending the vegetables into a bowl or onto a plate as you chop.
These are sometimes referred to as “salad shooters,” which seemed to take the world by storm during the 1990s thanks to some television ads. They’re still around today because they’re very easy to use, compact, and convenient.
Perhaps the most well-known and utilized of all vegetable choppers, food processors are a staple in most kitchens, mainly due to their versatility. Food processors resemble blenders, but use specialized blades and designs in order to quickly chop up any number of foods, whether it’s veggies, fruits, nuts, coffee beans, or just about anything else you can fit inside.
Food processors come with a number of blades designed for specific food items, or for certain desired consistencies.
Manual Or Electric?
Vegetable choppers can be either electric or manual, regardless of type. Manual versions use levers and handles to chop, or rely on you being the one to move the vegetable over the blades. Electric choppers operate at the push of a button. Both of them have their advantages and disadvantages, it’s often a matter of preference.
It’s important to point out that using a vegetable chopper does not make you any less of a cook. In fact, many professional chefs use them in their kitchens on a regular basis for the very reasons listed above. These devices are a great way to make your kitchen time much more efficient, safer, and cut down on prep time.
So, if you haven’t already, consider adding a vegetable chopper to your kitchen inventory — you’ll be glad you did, and wonder how you ever got by without one prior.