This thing rocks for shredding cheese! My family doesn't like the pre-shredded stuff, and loves to just grab handfuls of freshly shredded cheddar cheese to munch on. However, normally shredding cheese involved grating your knuckles in the process, and a lot of arm muscle. Enter, the Salad Shooter!
I purchased my Salad Shooter last November. I buy 2 lb bricks of Tillamook cheese, and cut them into 5 pieces so they'll fit into the chute. This is the most time consuming part of shredding cheese for me now, and it doesn't take that long! Then, I shred the cut sections of cheese. Yes, the Salad Shooter is loud, but it only takes me seconds to shred 2 pounds of cheese. So, I don't mind the noise.
Clean up is easy. A quick rinse to get the bigger bits of stuck cheese off (not sure if this is even necessary, but I do it anyway), and then everything goes in the dishwasher, except for the motor bit, and that only rarely needs a quick wipe with a paper towel. I love it.
I've probably shredded about 30 pounds of cheese with my Salad Shooter, and it's still going strong. For every family gathering, I volunteer to bring the shredded cheese.... it's just so much easier for me to do it.
*Update: October 6, 2008* I've probably shredded well over 60 lbs of cheese now with my Salad Shooter, and it still looks brand new. Since I wash everything in the dishwasher, I kept expecting rust spots to show up on the metal grating part, but there's no rust to be found. I'm very pleased!
**2nd update: July 2010** Still going strong.... I don't even want to guess how many pounds of cheese I've shredded with this Salad Shooter! :) Shredding blade cone had a hairline crack in the plastic part of it for several months but I kept using it, and now there's a bigger crack near it. Ordered a replacement cone directly from Presto this month, arrived in 4 days. I have a habit of pushing hard on the cheddar cheese in the chute, so I think that put a lot of stress on the shredding cone. 2 and a half years for that first shredding cone isn't bad, though, seeing what I put it through!
*Another update: March 2013* I still use this shredder and it's still going strong! =)
on November 7, 2007
FOLLOW UP: 1-15-2010
After 2 years of use (about 4 times a month), the plastic gear shaft that plugs into the main mechanism was never properly snug. So, it stripped out and as well, the area where the shaft is inserted into is also stripped, i.e., both the base mechanism and grater holder are stripped.
Maybe the plastic used is too soft?
So, anyway, can't use it at all and there is no way to repair it. Definitely not as solidly made as the ones 2 plus decades ago. Big waste of money. Bought many new graters and no way to use them unless I buy a completely new machine. Do not want to waste my money on a new one. Will buy a food processor instead.
Needs a Second Size Grater
Good old Salad Shooter. Got a cordless one back in the mid-80s and loved it, but they stopped making the battery piece for it and mine died. Should have bought the one with the cord, so I could still use it.
With the Professional version, the blades and feeding shoot are bigger and wider than the basic Salad Shooter, but sadly, there is only one grating blade and it grates in thick results. So, you have to go to [...] to order variable grater sizes.
No fine grating here. That's good for carrots (FYI, celery does NOT grate well in this -- it clogs horribly, use a different blade), but if you want your parmesan delicate, you will need to then put it in a food processor to pulverize it to powder. No in-between solution for thin, grated cheese.
Kind of defeats my main purpose of the shooter. Would have preferred to see 2 types of grating blades in the package.
Easy clean up (except be warned, when you grate cheese a good dollop is left behind the twist-on ring and in the bottom of the shoot). A little clumsy getting the unit to snap together. The old basic Shooter was easier to lock and load.
Otherwise, seems to be a strong tool (it's a bit loud) -- had it about 3 months; so far so good.
on January 23, 2012
UPDATE, 5/10/13: Downgraded to two stars. I hardly use this anymore. There are too many things it can't slice/shred well (celery, onions, anything of that caliber); it stains (especially with carrots), is hard to clean, and is loud. Yeah, you can expect it to handle raw potatoes, zucchini, cucumber well. But a regular food processor could do a better job with less rumble, wiggle, and noise. If you have to shred a lot of carrots (especially since the stain lasts), it still works for that, too. But food sticks everywhere in the thing. I understand the problem now: the blades a) aren't sharp enough, and b) are too flat, so a lot of what you're trying to slice, just whirs round between the cone and the motor turning the cone. A real mess.
If anyone claims they can shred cheese with it, they must be nearly freezing the cheese beforehand, and the cleanup must be horrendous. I'm in the market for something to replace this ill-designed airplane. It sits on top of my range ledge, gathering dust, and is not at all easy to store. Seems like all food processors are problems, these days. Original review, follows below.
Just got this from Amazon. Have never used an appliance like this before. So this review will be piecemeal, as I learn the product.
UPDATE in this paragraph: they should redesign the product with a wide chute instead of a tall one, and with a corresponding chute pusher cup. That way, if you divide the chute pusher cup it will be meaningful, and a wide chute would accommodate whole onions and potatoes. They could design a wide chute so that it's sideways, thus not increasing the depth of the machine. End this paragraph's update.
Initial reaction: This is a VERY screechy machine, far louder than a blender. Not a product you'd use for small amounts of food, unless you want wafer-thin slicing (i.e., carrots, using the grey cone). You can slice a few vegetables and clean up in less time than it takes to plug in the product, select the right slicing cone, rinse off the affected parts, and re-assemble. Figure 2-5 minutes wash-up. A simple knife and cutting-board rinse off takes one minute. So you'd use this product if you have a lot of slicing, or you want to do fancy slicing/paring/cutting, or the manual act of slicing bugs you. And with carrots or other vegetables, you must immediately soak the parts, lest they stain. The cones hold a lot of residual material, so if you process larger amounts of food, you might have to take the machine apart, remove the residue, and resume.
This machine won't work well with tomatoes or other fruits/vegetables of like softness, because the flesh won't cut well. However, if you flash freeze the fruit first, you might get better results. (Flash-freeze means putting the fruit/veggie/cheese in the freezer for 10-15 minutes until it's firm, but not frozen).
Also, the product is large (Professional), but if placed sideways, is narrow enough to sit on the top ledge of my electric stove (that jutting-up back portion with the clock and the dial controls, about 3" wide ledge). Neither machine nor cones store handily, but the cones do stack atop each other. Nice that it's white, not black (who on earth likes a black kitchen, yecchhh). Would have preferred a color, but as we all have different color themes in our kitchens, white is better than light-absorbing black. You could take a standard Mixmaster fabric cover (like from the 1960's) and cover it, to create color.
Product disassembles well, and the only cleaning problems will be the blades themselves (within the cones, hence safer); and the socket into which each spinning cone, goes. Means immediate washout after using, to avoid food sticking (use an old toothbrush). Not happy about that, but it beats the typical blender where the blade is at the bottom of the bowl, so you have to exercise caution when you empty the bowl. The other Salad Shooter advantage, is that the cones are easier to change than blades within a typical bowl processor. And let's not even talk about the mandolin slicers, etc.
Manual is well-written. Says it will handle the foods you expect it to handle, will not handle ice, whole coffee beans, will handle nuts. Manual doesn't recommend processing meat or tomatoes.
Usage Results: LOUD. Like a high-pitched chainsaw; five times louder than blenders I remember, sound vaguely like airplanes landing. I happen to like that sound. But if you live with others, don't make any late-night or early-morning meals with this thing. Takes two hands to hold, machine vibrates and whines due to the cone whir, so steadiness isn't easy. The blades are meant for hard foods.
Tried to slice a fresh onion with it, NIGHTMARE CITY. The onion never went throught the grey slicing cone, finally had to unplug, then dip the cone into water to get the small bits of onion there, else had to tap it out of the food chute, largely uncut. As if the blades were too dull, but more likely the slimy film over onion layers (even when peeled) impaired blade slice-ability. Manual says the Shooter will handle onion, so long as you don't grate it. Guess they didn't mean Spanish onion, because the latter doesn't work at all, at least not in the grey slicer. Would have been great to slice onions with it, to avoid tears. Guess again. But the cone just wouldn't slice, no matter how I vertically positioned the quartered onion, no matter how gently, loosely, tightly, evenly or hard I 'guided' the food pusher.
REVIEW UPDATE: It works fine on carrots, uniquely paper-thin: impossible to do that by hand, or with any other type of blender/processor I've ever used or seen. Shoots out in an array, if you want to 'design' as you shoot, but the output is sporadic: don't move the Shooter too quickly. This was the main reason I wanted the Shooter, as I hate cutting carrots. So it was worth buying for this function alone, since I'm a carrot junkie.
(No extra charge, onion-disaster consequence: throw onion in with Family Size Mushroom Soup can plus one can Mackerel; add water, smoke flavoring and powdered garlic to taste in greased caldera, heat on low for an hour until onion is soft. Tastes great hot or cold.)
It did chop cashews well, though very messy to clean. Less mess, had I used a conventional food processor. So this product won't replace a food processor.
Edit again, 2/2012. Finally tried it with yellow and like-shaped squash. Grey cone is for paper-thin slices, but the white cone is better. Thinner slices 'stick' better to lettuce, etc. but a slightly thicker slice means better taste, so use the white cone. Tried the grater cone, too. Cleanup is a hassle, you have to rinse everything IMMEDIATELY; again, carrot slicing stains everything, so you MUST soak or rub off the stain. More cleanup than with a regular food processor -- but no food processor I know of, can slice so evenly and thinly. Same for the grater cone.
Grated size is a lot thinner than the size of the holes, which I don't much like; thickly-grated items have more taste. Thinner is prettier, but do you make food to look at it, or to eat it? I dread the idea of shredding cheese with this, unless the cheese is almost frozen, for it will stick to the cones and everywhere else inside -- cheese grated too thinly, loses its taste.
That division inside the pusher cup for a 'small load' is useless; never split the pusher cup. Instead, If the vegetable is longer than the chute, use your hand to push the vegetable while you run the machine, until the remainder of the vegetable is somewhat below the chute top. Then 'top' the vegetable with the pusher cup. Apply even pressure.
The funnel is tricky. Food gets stuck in it, unless you wiggle the Shooter from side to side (turning your wrist back and forth) while also with your other hand, pushing the cup down while running the machine. So the funnel dumps the grated material in clumps.
The directions warn you not to use this for celery, with good reason: the strings will create a nightmare. But I just now (3/4/2012) used it on celery and the slices came out wonderfully. Yes, some strings wrapped around the cone, but they rinsed off easily. Hint hint: after you process other veggies, do the celery last. They tend to clean out prior residue, don't know why. The slices are too thin for my liking, but you need them thin for flavoring sauces or soups, stir-fry, etc. Yippeee!