A blender is an essential appliance for any home cook. It’s the multitasker of the kitchen—your trusted sous-chef that helps get things done and bring your recipes to life. Post-workout protein smoothies. Milkshakes for family movie night (or every night). Perhaps a festive dip or salsa for a dinner party. A great blender makes you better. When four high-powered stainless steel blades are on your side, you’re prepared to make amazing drinks and food, and possibly some culinary magic.
A bevy of beverages
Some of the world’s favorite liquid refreshments come together in a blender. And you’ll want to make them all. For instance, who doesn’t love a sweet and creamy milkshake? Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry are proven winners, but you can really get creative. Add your favorite flavored syrups or crushed candy. Blend in the ingredients for s’mores or chunks of ice cream sandwich. It’s sure to bring out the milkshake mustaches.
For many of us, blenders have become part of our daily health regimens. Smoothies are a great way to consume nutritious foods and get essential vitamins and minerals. Fresh or frozen fruits and berries, Greek yogurt, soy milk, flax or chia seeds, cinnamon, turmeric and coconut oil are just some of the delicious options for your healthy concoctions. There are also green smoothies that incorporate avocado and all types of leafy greens, such as spinach and kale. Have a finicky toddler who resists eating vegetables? He’ll be delighted with his yummy green smoothie .
Some blender models even offer a blend-and-go personal jar, so you can quickly make a single-serving smoothie and dash off to the gym or the office.
Not surprisingly, a blender knows how to rock a party. Icy fruit drinks are tasty treats for the kids. And when it comes to entertaining with adult beverages, it’s a champ. Everyone adores those weekend visits to Margaritaville and Piña Coladaland. But if you really want to wow the crowd, crush up a round of Moscow Mule snow cones with lime, fresh mint and ginger.
Blending and infinite culinary possibilities
While your blender will certainly be used for its outstanding mixology capabilities, frozen drinks and smoothies are just the tip of the iceberg. A blender can contribute to every course of every meal. Maybe you’d like to start the morning with pancakes or waffles. Use your versatile appliance to mix the batter. How about whipping up a tangy hollandaise sauce to top your eggs Benedict? There are countless savory dishes that you can make. Try a hummus appetizer or a fiesta-sized bowl of salsa. Of course, there are soups—so many soups. And blending up salad dressings is a breeze. You also can prepare dips and sauces to complement your entrees—think cucumber tzatziki or garlicky basil pesto. Plus, you can easily blend marinades and lump-free gravies for meats, poultry and seafood.
But the utility doesn’t end there. With the right blender know-how, you can use a blender to perform tasks that may have never occurred to you. You can blend cookie, cracker or bread crumbs for toppings and pie crusts. You can chop vegetables and nuts. When a coffee grinder isn’t available, your blender can save the day. It’s also possible to grate parmesan cheese and mix beverages from frozen concentrate. As you think about purchasing a blender, it’s important to determine how you want to use it and then consider the range of capabilities available. The right blender for you is the one that can do everything you demand of it.
Tips for success
Add liquid to your blending ingredients—enough to cover the blades (a minimum of 1 cup). If ingredients stick to the sides or won’t move in the jar, try tamping them down and/or adding more liquid.
Layer up ingredients. Begin with liquid, add softest items, then harder items, and finally ice.
Avoid overfilling the blender. Always start blending at a low setting to liquify ingredients. Then proceed to higher speeds as required.
Take care when working with warm/hot liquids. Never pour hot liquids into a cold jar as this could lead to cracking. Hot liquids produce steam pressure that can build up and push the lid off the jar. To avoid this, always blend with the vent on the jar lid open and hold the lid with an oven mitt or towel.
Do not attempt to mash potatoes, mix stiff dough, whip egg whites, grind raw meat or extract juices from fruits and vegetables.
Always clean your blender thoroughly—particularly if you’ve been working with eggs, meat, dairy products or seafood. Before cleaning in a dishwasher, confirm which parts of your appliance are dishwasher safe. Always wash in the top rack and avoid using the “SANI” setting; its cycle temperatures may damage parts. Store/dry your blender with the lid off or open to avoid odor or mildew.
Learning to work with your blender will absolutely strengthen your cooking skills and broaden your culinary palate. Don’t be afraid to explore and experiment. The best meal of your life may be just a few pulses away.