Author Topic: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?  (Read 7009 times)

Khan

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 616
Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« on: December 31, 2013, 06:31:51 PM »
So, I'm about to have the ability to make my kitchen exactly how I want it to be(and I have a ridiculously awesome amount of countertop space to work with). My question is, should I have a blender? I'm going to try to become more adventuresome in the kitchen, and also improve my diet, but all I can think about using it for is smoothies, iced coffees, and milkshakes. Though those can be great(although mostly unhealthy), I don't really need them in my life. Am I missing something?

So is a blender a more anti-mustachian piece of gear, or is it more on the useful side of things?

Rural

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4834
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2013, 06:35:20 PM »
I'd say food processor if you have the choice. Does everything the blender can do and more. Hummus comes to mind (possible in a blender, but a gigantic pain). Plus the processor will slice veggies for you, grate carrots, grate potatoes (homemade hash browns), etc.

Russ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2213
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Boulder, CO
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2013, 07:00:31 PM »
Of course you don't need it. The question is whether you want it or not.

I'm sure all the vitamix lovers are gonna chime in and say you want one, but I'm pretty meh on full-size blenders. What I do like is my little $30 immersion blender. Does everything a full-size can, plus there's not a bunch of extra stuff to wash, plus it's smaller, plus it blends like a champ because you can push the blade around to get it where it needs to go. I use mine for soups and sauces mostly, and occasionally something more solid like hummus or refried beans.

Food processors are nice too but a totally different use case IMO because they're not waterproof (obviously this can be worked around, but beverages/liquids are really not what they're made for). I would use one of those even less often than a blender, since I don't ever have to grate 10 lb sacks of potatoes all at once.

Not that I necessarily recommend buying a bunch of shiny new stuff. For you, it sounds like you might not actually use it that much, and so I'd say wait until you actually know what you'd use it for (that fits within your other goals... so I'm ignoring the frappucinos and such). There's plenty you can do without it that should keep your adventurous side satisfied for a while. And technically iced coffee is just coffee with ice, no blender needed

Rural

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4834
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2013, 07:35:32 PM »

Food processors are nice too but a totally different use case IMO because they're not waterproof (obviously this can be worked around, but beverages/liquids are really not what they're made for). I would use one of those even less often than a blender, since I don't ever have to grate 10 lb sacks of potatoes all at once.

I don't know what sort of food processor you've seen, but I wouldn't want one that wasn't waterproof, either. Don't think I've ever seen one that wasn't. Mine is.

Hotstreak

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 770
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2013, 08:11:45 PM »
My blender broke a year ago, I don't have a food processor, and I haven't missed it a single day.  Smoothie?  Try eating the fruit instead.  Margarita?  On the rocks.  Food processor?  Umm, don't you own a knife?

All of the following things are nice:
Food processor
Blender
Immersion blender
Hand or Stand mixer
Torch
More than one of: muffin tin, bread pan, cake pan round, cake pan rectangle, any fancy pan
Avocado peeler
Orange peeler
Egg slicer
.....the list goes on!

But, NONE of them are required.  They are all ways of making your life a little easier and removing you a little bit away from the food process.  I recommend you say "no way!"

Russ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2213
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Boulder, CO
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2013, 08:29:02 PM »
I don't know what sort of food processor you've seen, but I wouldn't want one that wasn't waterproof, either. Don't think I've ever seen one that wasn't. Mine is.

The one my parents have allows liquid up under the blade, over the center column, and down the driveshaft. I've never done it but apparently if it's overfilled it freaks out. Easy solution is to not overfill it I guess and then it works fine.

Jamesqf

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4047
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2013, 08:47:53 PM »
It all depends on whether you do the sorts of cooking that a blender can be useful for.  For instance, in the last couple of months, I've used mine to puree fruit for fruit leather, likewise with skins for grape & plum jam, quince to make membrillo, smoosh potatos for soup...

ichangedmyname

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 420
    • Luxe Frugality
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2013, 10:10:21 PM »
If you have a dishwasher I would suggest a Ninja, much cheaper than the Vitamix but I hardly use mine because the blades are hard to wash and clean by hand. I got a whole set for $50 I believe at Costco. But for a smaller set it's like $25.

SnackDog

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1284
  • Location: Latin America
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2014, 09:11:07 AM »
The cheaper blenders are too low horsepower for smoothies and serious blending. They blend so slowly they either heat the food, fail to achieve the desired result, or burn out with modest use.

Vitamix and Blendtec start at around $300.  For closer to $100 you can get a Kitchenaid 5-speed 0.9 hp which will do just fine for ice, smoothies, margaritas, etc.

Greg

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1449
  • Location: Olympia, WA, USA
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2014, 10:57:14 AM »
An immersion blender might be a better option for you.  Imagine a motorized stir stick on steroids that you insert into a jar of whatever you want to chop/blend/etc.  Can do sauces, soups, eggs, chop ice, smoothies, shakes, pesto, and many things I'm not aware of.  Takes up a little space in a drawer and usually the blade section removes for cleaning.  Mine's a KitchenAid model.  Replaced our blender when it failed in an un-fixable way.

Blindsquirrel

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 656
  • Age: 1
  • Location: Flyover country
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2014, 11:10:19 AM »
  We got a Waring blender 20 years ago at Goodwill for about $5 I think. It has done the job for decades.

gooki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2376
  • Location: NZ
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2014, 11:32:27 AM »
A cheap stick blender can be very versatile.

oldtoyota

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3125
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2014, 12:15:53 PM »
I found a food processor more useful in my cooking. The problem with blenders is that the foods you're blending sometimes won't go to the bottom where the blades are located. I often had to turn off the machine, remove the lid, and mash everything around with a spoon to get it all into the path of the blades.

With my food processor, I never have the above problem because it's wider and more difficult for the food to escape the path of the blades. I make a lot of soup. Someone gave me a hand blender, and I now use that. The hand blender saves me from having to pour boiling liquid into a regular blender and then having to pour it back.

Cyrano

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 123
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2014, 12:29:34 PM »
If you do not know whether you need a kitchen gadget, you don't need it.

If you cook regularly, you will from time to time experience a moment when you don't have the tool for the job. When this happens, you improvise. Sometimes the improvisation works well. Other times not so much.

After multiple not so much moments, one has the data to know whether the benefit of the kitchen gadget justifies it's cost.

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2884
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2014, 02:27:40 PM »
If you have to ask, you probably don't need one, and then there is the term "need" blenders are a luxury. That being said, I have a blendtec and love it and use it all the time.  However, I had a cheaper blender and never used it.

I cook almost everything from scratch and do a lot of batch cooking so for us it is worth it. I use it for smoothies, also to make chia seed pudding, grind up grains and oats, make nut milks, make lattes and london fogs, make soup - ours actually heats up the liquid, so it takes all of 2 minutes to make a batch of tomato basil soup. I also use it powder dried veggies to make instant soup mix, I'm sure I do more, but that's off the top of my head

For Christmas I buzzed up some dried porcini mushrooms and dried lemon peels and dried jalapenos and made flavored salts for gifts, took all of two minutes and pantry ingredients and banged out a bunch of classy gifts.

I would spend sometime in your new kitchen and sort out your eating/cooing habits before you buy one, you might find that the cost is worth it like we have, but I also know lots of people who buy them with the best of intentions and never use them.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2014, 03:37:22 AM by swick »

ashley

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 77
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2014, 03:24:56 PM »
I have a vitamix and use it nearly every day (nut butter, nut milk, salad dressing, soup, sauces, hummus, etc. in addition to the obvious smoothies and other blended drinks), but I agree with the sentiment that if you have to ask, you don't need it. It was a fantastic purchase for me, and I love it, but I wouldn't have spent $400 on a blender if I didn't REALLY want it and know I would use it a lot. I considered it for a couple of years before I took the plunge.

When I had a cheaper (read: crappy) blender, I never used it because it couldn't get anything smooth enough. I made do with my immersion blender for a long time, and it was fine for most things. I actually still use it sometimes to puree soups directly in the pot. They are probably the best value in the blender world if you don't want to spend a lot of money.

monarda

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 433
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2014, 04:02:03 PM »
+1 on immersion blender. I have one (under $20) and it comes with attachments that allow for many of the functions of my small food processor, blender, and electric mixer in one. (whips cream, chops basil and nuts for pesto, etc)  I have all of these and have hardly used anything except the immersion blender since I bought it. We use it often for soups in winter.

CommonCents

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2386
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2014, 05:56:29 PM »
I got one for a wedding present 1.5 years ago.  I've only used it a handful of times for soup, although I have plans (and frozen fruit in the freezer) for smoothies.  I felt I needed to register for *something* for the folks that want to give gifts (even though we both had separate households before marriage), but about half of the gifts we've hardly used.  A bit of a fail there on our part.  :(  But hey, 2014 is a new year, maybe we'll use it more this year.

ichangedmyname

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 420
    • Luxe Frugality
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2014, 11:14:48 PM »

Fireman

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 397
  • Location: Fredericksburg, VA
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2014, 06:55:55 AM »
Something kind of related to the topic

http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelysanders/clever-new-ways-to-use-kitchen-appliances

Thanks for the link, I even bookmarked it!

As for the blender...as a kid, I made a lot of milkshakes but don't remember using the blender for anything else.  I have one now and the only thing I remember using it for was to make salsa. 

anastrophe

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 561
  • Location: New England
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2014, 07:01:27 AM »
I love me some kitchen gadgets, and I have an immersion blender AND a food processor. But I didn't buy either until I'd been cooking seriously, every night, for a year and found myself thinking at least once a week "wish I had a...". And since I've never thought "wish I had a full-size blender" when I'm in the middle of making soup/smoothies/whatever, I haven't bought one.

If you haven't found yourself in the middle of food prep thinking that you need one, you don't need one (yet). Figure out what you like to cook and what your style is, then see what your actual needs are.

brand new stash

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 148
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2014, 07:12:14 AM »
If you do not know whether you need a kitchen gadget, you don't need it.

If you cook regularly, you will from time to time experience a moment when you don't have the tool for the job. When this happens, you improvise. Sometimes the improvisation works well. Other times not so much.

After multiple not so much moments, one has the data to know whether the benefit of the kitchen gadget justifies it's cost.

This is fabulous advice.

Elaine

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 467
  • Age: 32
  • Location: NYC
    • Small Things Good
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2014, 07:30:15 AM »
I'm (not bragging here, it's my only hobby) a pretty gourmet/advanced cook and I could absolutely get away with no blender. I would have a very hard time without my food processor, and I also use an immersion blender a good deal. The main advantage of an immersion blender is that it's easier to clean, small to store, and you can use it on very hot foods. So instead of cooling down a soup stock, and portioning it into a blender to puree for a bisque, you can just do it in the soup pot itself while it's on the burner. Unless you plan on making smoothies constantly (which you could do in a high end food processor anyway), there's no real purpose for a blender.

thurston howell iv

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 415
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2014, 07:50:20 AM »
x10 on the Blentec blender. Cost $400 with a 7 year warranty @ Costco. Use it every day at least once, if not more.
Was recommended by MIL and she has 2 of them!  Purchased one and recommended it to friends and family and now they all have one!


I was not convinced that I should be spending $400 on a Blender until I saw what it could do. My old crappy blender could never hang with this one. Check out some demo's and you'll be hooked.

ketchup

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3885
  • Age: 28
Re: Kitchen Appliances: Blender, do I need one?
« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2014, 07:53:40 AM »
If you do not know whether you need a kitchen gadget, you don't need it.

If you cook regularly, you will from time to time experience a moment when you don't have the tool for the job. When this happens, you improvise. Sometimes the improvisation works well. Other times not so much.

After multiple not so much moments, one has the data to know whether the benefit of the kitchen gadget justifies it's cost.
This.  We use our blender at least once every day or two, and our food processor about once a week (usually for something weird like salad dressing that needs to be blended a certain way, or to grind up seeds, etc).  However, the blender was bought by our roommates ($80 Kitchenaid that blends up *anything* we've thrown at it), and the food processor was given to me by my grandpa and is an awesome old beast that will never die.  So we didn't really pay for either, or consciously acquire them.

The only other countertop kitchen appliance we have is a slow cooker, and we use that at least one or twice a week.