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Easily one of the easiest of all kitchen utensils to operate, the chopper is a time saving device that can make the preparation of food simpler and easier for anyone from the kitchen novice to the accomplished chef. Here is some basic information about the spring-loaded chopper, including some easy recipes that can be created with the use of the chopper.
Hand held choppers come with a clear glass body. The glass is thick enough to allow the container to be strong and still allow the user to see what is happening with the chopper during operation. Along the mouth of the glass container is a series of threads that will line up with the lid for the cooking chopper. The lid comes with a plunger that also functions as the handle for the chopper. On the interior of the lid is a spring loading mechanism that allows the plunger to be moved rapidly back and forth within the glass body.
At the end of the plunger mechanism are the chopper blades. Most choppers will be equipped with four blades, extending in four different directions from the plunger body. A cover on the interior of the lid encases the spring loading, which helps to ensure that the food being chopped in the unit never touches the spring mechanism.
Operating the blade chopper is not difficult at all. First, the glass body is loaded with the food items that are to be chopped. Once the chopper is loaded, the lid is screwed into place, creating a tight fit. At this juncture, there are two methods to use for the actual chopping. Some people prefer to hold the body of the chopper in the left hand, while using the right hand to plunge the blades back and forth into the food. While working the plunger with the right hand, the left hand is used to rotate the body, allowing the blades to create more or less uniform segments of the food. Other people prefer to hold the chopper on a counter and use a clockwise motion with the plunger, turning it slightly with as the blades are retracted and prepared for another plunge.
Choppers are handy ways to quickly chop such items as onions, garlic cloves, and tomatoes to go in soups, stews, and casseroles. In fact, these three items, when paired with a pepper, can be used to create a chunky salsa in minutes that is free of preservatives and very tasty. Along the same lines, leftover pieces of boneless chicken can easily be placed in the chopper along with celery and chunks of apples to create the basis for chicken salad.
The manual chopper is an inexpensive item, found in discount retail stores and other retail outlets. Easy to use and even easier to clean and maintain, the glass body of the chopper, along with the plastic lid and metal chopping blades are easily hand washed and will also do well in the dishwasher. While costing very little, the chopper yields big benefits, making it easy to chop vegetables in record time. For many cooks, having a chopper in the kitchen is considered as necessary as any pot or pan.
@Buster29- I'll agree that most manual choppers are not going to get the same results as a skilled prep cook or commercial buffalo chopper. But most home cooks only need to dice up a few bell peppers or hardboiled eggs for a recipe, not 30 pounds of onions. I'd say the main consideration when shopping for a chopper is capacity. You should be able to fit more than a few carrots or apples into the container at a time.
I've bought a few food choppers over the years, and in general I find them convenient to use. I'm not sure if they're are a significant improvement over kitchen knives, however. I used to be a prep cook in a cafeteria-style restaurant, and I had to chop a lot of vegetables every day. Over time, I learned how to dice onions and chop carrots and mince garlic using just a chopping board and a good chef's knife.
When I bought a chopper for home use, it did a pretty good job chopping onions and dicing chicken meat into cubes. I found I still had to do some cutting of my own to get other things to fit into the chopper, however. The finished cuts sometimes looked odd, not uniform in shape or size. I'd use a chopper for some things, but I still prefer to use my knives if presentation is an issue.
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