Monday, August 4, 2014

Why I Ditched My High Speed Blender

Do you really need a high speed blender in order to prepare healthy food?
As I read various blogs and articles on the internet, I am constantly faced with advocacy for high speed blenders. This or that author will say, "You must have a high speed blender. It is the only way to do this job!" or "I just love my high speed blender." or, "You don't need a high speed blender if you want to eat processed junk. But if you want healthy, whole foods you MUST have a high speed blender."

One of the distinctives of my blog is a focus on frugal, healthy cooking. Perhaps you've been led to believe that healthy cooking requires expensive equipment like a high-speed blender. If you're trying to decide whether you need one of these devices, perhaps my experience will help you decide. 

Many years ago, we had one of the coveted High Speed Blenders. It was a Vita Mix. When we first got it, we were totally sold on its benefits by the infomercial-style salesman at the state fair exhibit hall. Why, it could even take a WHOLE RAW EGG and grind it up smooth- shell and all - so that you could add it to a smoothie! We were convinced that it was a "must have" to make lots of delicious food. I have to say that when we bought it, we really weren't very healthy eaters. Not at all, in fact! But, we were sold on the idea that owning one of these appliances would make our diet healthier. It didn't.

Over the years, I became more and more interested in home cooking and preparing whole foods. Over time, I stopped eating meat & became vegetarian, I reduced my junk food consumption, I increased my whole foods intake, I lost a fair amount of weight. And, as all of this happened, I found that I didn't use my high speed blender more, on the contrary, as all this happened, I used it less.

First, it lost its prime real estate on my kitchen counter,and it was relegated to a cupboard. Then, as I found I used it less and less, it lost its place in the cupboard, and was exiled to our storage room. Once in a long while, I would pull it out to do some job that it seemed particularly well-suited for, only to find out that it was no more effective at the job in question than my other kitchen tools, but it took up a lot more space, and could perform fewer functions than the others! Finally, I decided to simply give it away- and that's what I did!

Why did it keep getting demoted? I found that other, smaller & cheaper kitchen appliances were not "just as good," but rather, they were BETTER!

If I wanted to make Hummus or another thick dip or spread, my little food processor could do the job faster & better (over the years, I have had three different small food processors that hold 2-3 cups of food - my current is a Sunbeam Oskar similar to this one - I got it at a thrift store for $2.99). I had to stop the high speed blender and scrape down the sides repeatedly, but the small food processor didn't require this special treatment. I could gradually add liquids to either machine as it ran if I needed it to. And, the small Food Processor could also chop, slice or shred a variety of vegetables much more effectively than a blender could!

If I wanted to puree a hot soup, I had to risk splashing myself with boiling liquid to do it in the high speed blender, or I could simply stick an immersion blender (also known as a stick blender - pardon the pun) in the pot and do it on the spot. (I have a Braun similar to this one that I bought at a thrift store - brand new still in the box - for 2 or 3 dollars). Even better, the immersion blender is super-easy to clean in the sink - whereas the high speed blender was a tough cleaning job. (The salesman said you could just blend soapy water in the machine & rinse - but  that cleaning method wasn't always so effective for us.)

If I wanted to grind a grain or spice (which, let's face it, is a pretty rare need in most kitchens), I can always pull out the coffee grinder - once again - a purchase that was 2 or 3 dollars. And, as it is a smaller machine, I don't have to fill it so full to reach the blades - that's a real advantage when grinding spices.

The salesman said that the machine could crush ice - and it can - but the cubes get caught under and around the blades now and then and have to be dislodged - which isn't always easy. We found ourselves resorting to our previous smack-with-a-heavy-ice-cream-scoop method.  And, let's face it, who wants to pay a few hundred dollars for an inefficient ice crusher?

So, after years of wanting to love our High Speed Blender - and hearing from others how wonderful it was - I finally concluded that I simply had no use for one.

Now, I understand that there are fancy models that can freeze your smoothie while they blend it, but if I keep my bananas in the freezer, I can just make the frozen smoothie in my food processor - and I don't have to worry about the bananas spoiling if I don't get to them fast enough.

And, similarly, the fancy models can heat my soup while they blend it. But, it's a simple matter to heat my soup on the stove top, and the immersion blender is so much easier to use & clean! And, I don't like all of my soups pureed, anyway. 

Now, when I see people share that they are trying to save up several hundred dollars to afford a High Speed Blender, I cringe inside.  I haven't found a single kitchen job that can be done by a High Speed Blender that cannot be done more easily, conveniently, and cheaply with standard kitchen equipment. It is true, the high speed blender does do one job my other machines can't. It can grind a raw egg with its egg shell - but I don't eat raw eggs or egg shells! Truth of the matter is, I have absolutely no need to grind up a whole raw egg, shell and all, and add it to a smoothie!

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19 comments:

  1. Found this at Motivational Monday. Thanks for reinforcing my belief that I don't need to rush out and buy a high speed blender!

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words! I appreciate you visiting : )

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  2. This is very interesting to know! I had a cheap blender for a while, but I didn't like it. Like you say, I was always scraping things down, and stuff got caught under the blades, so I used my food processor most of the time - now I *only* have a food processor and immersion blender.

    I always thought that one of the high speed/high priced blenders would be better, just because I'd always heard they were. Looks like I'll just be happy with my food processor. :)

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    1. Thanks for the encouraging comment! So glad you dropped by to visit! : )

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  3. I wandered over from Adventures with my Kids and think it's great, that this is the post I landed on. I've coveted a Vitamix for a while now but can't bring myself to spend that kind of money on a kitchen gadget. I do need to get a new mini food processor but I'm glad to know that between that and my immersion blender I'm already good to go!

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    1. Thanks so much - so delighted that you found my post helpful! Adventures with My Kids is a great blog : )

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  4. I agree, blender sticks are perfect for blending hot soups and making mayo in a pinch. I do have a blender I use daily.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by! I'm not very fond of mayo, so I've never made my own, but I'm glad that you shared that a stick blender will do the trick - it's great to know! : )

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  5. This is a really interesting post. Sometimes it's hard not too get caught up in the excitement of fancy kitchen equipment. But sometimes less is more. You raise some good points! Thank you for linking at the In and Out of the Kitchen Link Party. Hope to see you again next week.

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    1. Thank you so much for hosting & for your always-kind comments! : )

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  6. Thanks for this information! I have always been tempted by the Vita-Mix. I think I will just keep on using my current system...

    Please join us again at the Art of Home-Making Mondays next week :)

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  7. What a wonderful post, and apparently the folks at Simple Saturdays Blog Hop think so too! You were selected as our featured post of the week. Make sure and stop by for your sidebar button to display proudly and we look forward to seeing you this weekend...can't wait to see whay you'll post!

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    1. Thank you so much for featuring my post! I am SO honored! : )

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  8. Well I'm glad that I didn't buy one. When our regular blender went out, we looked at them, but decided we didn't need it, see we didn't. Thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays.

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  9. We got a barely used Vitamix through Craigslist for half the price and we LOVE it! :) My Oster blender just didn't cut it and died within weeks of using it. My husband makes protein shakes everyday and I make smoothies and blend oats with it. I guess it all depends on what your family needs. I'd love to have a food processor too though but I'm a bargain shopper and refuse to pay full price for anything. :)

    Thanks so much for linking up at Savoring Saturdays!

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  10. Thanks for sharing at Savoring Saturdays, Anna. It's always good for people to hear both sides of the argument before they make a decision. I must admit, I love my Blendtec, but I've never any of the little gadgets you mentioned to compare it to, and I didn't have to spend hundreds of dollars on it either - I sure wouldn't have it otherwise!

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment. Glad you like what you have - especially since you got a deal on it : )

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  11. I was really happy to read this. I've never had a high-speed blender, but I always thought it would be nice. As I get older I think about more things, "I've gotten along fine without ___ this long, let's just keep things simple and not get one." And now you have made me feel even better about this perspective. ;-)

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    1. Thank you so much - glad you liked it! It is SO easy to get "sucked in" by the sales pitches for fancy appliances! It is true, we can do a whole lifetime of cooking without some of these things.

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