The Best Food Processors and Blender Tutorial, Tips and Tricks 2021
Food processors and blenders, both are staple appliances in many kitchens, and especially when you are starting to look into eating more healthily, a blender is probably first on your list of equipment to buy. And it is no surprise – as it is a tool that you can use to make so many things – only starting with smoothies, ice cream, raw cakes, pasta sauce, soups, even juices!
However, when we see the instruction to use a “high-speed” blender, this can often be discouraging. What does that mean? Do I really have to spend 700 USD on a blender just to get eating more healthy? Do I choose a Vitamix vs. Blendtec vs. Nutribullet or can I just use a cheap blender?
For many, this is a first obstacle when it comes to starting to prepare more healthy foods in their own kitchens.
And today we are going to remove this obstacle for you, by showing you how you can work with both expensive but also cheaper blenders for great results in your kitchen.
Let’s start with blenders.
Which Blender to use: Vitamix vs. Blendtec vs. Nutribullet or a Cheap one?
First of all, I want to dissolve the myth that you have to use an expensive blender in order to get started with your recipes.
The reason why most recipes will state that you should use a “high-speed” blender, is their power. Some items will not be possible to blend by low-powered blenders and you might not be able to achieve that ultra smooth consistency – you know the one when you take the mix between your finger tips and don’t feel any sign of a particle or grain on your skin? –
However, most foods that you will prepare with your blender, like smoothies, pasta and other sauces, soups, dressings, coulis…. you will be able to prepare in a cheaper blender as well.
And for the rest – when it comes to making ice cream or raw cakes, you simply need to know the tricks of the trade – then you will also be able to achieve great results, even with a cheaper tool!
Cheap Blender Tricks
Know its purpose. First of all, know what to process in a blender and what to process in a food processor. The general rule is: if it is liquid, use the blender, if it is dry, chunky and sticky: use the food processor. And for everything in between? This is where your judgement comes in. I would say, if your mix is somewhat runny or entirely smooth in the final outcome you can still use the blender. Of course, all of the above is without the consideration for textures in mind.
Go for Power. So now, if you want to use a cheap blender, make sure that your blender has at least 1.000 Watt. I had great results with the Nutri Pro 1200 – a blender for 29.99 GBP on Amazon even when making raw cakes! Even better known brands with a lower Watt power will never have satisfying results.
Shake it, baby. When using a cheap blender like the one above – one that is screwed in rather than just standing loosely on the blender base, I like to lift up the base and shake the whole blender, holding on tight both to the jug as well as the base. That helps mixing ingredients even further.
Preparation is key. Also, when using cheaper or lower powered blenders, it is good to prepare all your ingredients even more diligently. Cut them up as small as you can before adding them to your blender, add them step by step. You can use ground nuts and seeds and nut butters and / or make sure to soak nuts and seeds before adding them to the blender (that anyways is also a good tip for enhancing our ability to digest the nuts properly).
- All in order. Also consider how you add your ingredients into your blender jug: Always start with liquid ingredients first. I generally like to blend liquid ingredients, like water, nut milks, juices with syrups like agave, honey, maple syrup and extracts like vanilla or mint and spices and superfoods first, before adding my bulky ingredients – like fruit, vegetables or nuts and seeds. This ensures that all the ingredients that were blended in the first round will be already combined, before adding the bulk that makes life a bit more difficult for our cheaper blenders – yet this trick ensures that we still get everything to combine well, even when liquid amounts are low in comparison to the rest of your ingredients. Lastly – please add in any oils last to ensure that a. Your blender doesn’t over heat, b. Your oils don’t overheat and change flavor c. Your oils emulsify with the rest of your ingredients (to emulsify means to combine water and fat soluble ingredients that would usually not stay mixed). And as a final consideration, you can also choose to transfer your mix from here into a bowl and add any nut meals, powders and flowers by hand so that your blender won’t overheat.
No matter if you are using a cheap blender or an expensive one, using a blender to combine your ingredients will always have a different effect to combining your ingredients by hand, by whipping them in a kitchen machine or combining them in the food processor.
This is why, especially when price doesn’t matter – it is good to consider which texture we are looking for when choosing our piece of equipment.
All these tricks also apply when you use a Nutribullet for blending – but of course be sure that your blender has the right power wattage.
High – Speed or Expensive Blenders
Now, when it comes to more expensive Blenders, like a Vitamix or Blendtec, you will see it doesn't mean everything gets easier. Of course the power and the design, the thing with which you stomp your food in which I never know the name of and am too lazy to look it up – and now know to be a Tamper Stick 🤪… is amazing. But there are other things to consider instead.
My first investment when I decided to go on a raw food diet was in a Vitamix. That was almost 8 years ago. And up to this day, and while not eating a raw food diet anymore, I still find this to be the most valuable investment that I have made in my kitchen, alongside my Slow Juicer.
I use the Blender almost everyday – whether it is for making nut milks, smoothies, blending up butter coffees, pureeing soups and of course for making my raw vegan cakes.
I believe if you are in for the long game, it doesn’t really matter if it is a Vitamix or a Blendtec – you will be happy with your investment.
Here are some basic tips for each blender:
I use the basic 5200 Standard Vitamix and have two Jar Options: One for liquid ingredients and one for dry ingredients.
While the dry ingredients jar is mainly for making flours, grinding nuts and seeds, herbs and kneading doughs.
When it comes to my raw vegan cakes, I have shifted to fully using the dry ingredients jar for all parts of the cake – no matter if they are crumbly bases, creamy and grainless fillings or chocolate glazes.
I find that it is of the perfect size, creates the perfect textures that I am looking for and is super powerful and fast in processing the ingredients.
Now, I am also a big fan of Blendtec. I used them at work a lot, and especially the Twister Jar is a fantastic invention for blending up small batches extremely precise.
While with other blenders you may find that you need to stop the process from time to time in-between and scrape down the sides, the Scraper of the Twister Jar can be used while blending – speeding up the process and creating great results.
And of course there is also the Wild Side Jar, which is great for larger amounts and preparing ice creams.
For home, the Total Blender is the choice.
When working with raw cakes for example, volume is a consideration when working with these kind of blenders. Some of the recipes are of small volume and may not be easily processed in a large size jug.
The solution is to also purchase one of the smaller size containers OR to increase your recipe.
Now, let’s talk about Food Processors:
When it comes to food processors, the main difference is the positioning of the blades, as well as the fact that food processors have extremely sharp blades – compared to blenders which work mostly with their power.
Food Processor Jugs are usually more bulky, allowing the content to move, even when sticky. There is often an entry point that allows you to temper the content or stream in and add ingredients while the food processor is active.
All of the above make food processors especially efficient when it comes to processing dry nuts and seeds, dried fruits and other dry and semi dry ingredients.
As well as to making chunky mixes that are not completely combined but still have bits and pieces of the ingredients in tact.
This is exactly why food processors are mostly used for making pestos, hummus, cake bases, bliss balls, muhammara, or curry pastes for example – so anything that is ok with chunks!
Often food processors also have all kinds of useful add ons that allow you to efficiently slice or grind up vegetables to desired shapes, make citrus juice or whip up dough or even make pasta.
The great benefit that food processors have is their versatility as you can see, the fact that you can achieve great results with cheap models and that there are all kinds of sizes available – from tiny volumes to limitless in commercial appliances.
I use this little guy if I do.
However, I will say that the dry ingredients jar of my Vitamix has taken over all roles in my cake making.
I hope that you found this article helpful and that you learned some new tricks of the trade when it comes to using your food processors and blenders.
You see, when blending up any foods, there is more to it than just throwing everything into the jug and letting it mix.
Understanding the settings of your equipment, its properties and your ingredients as well as knowing these little tricks are what makes you successful with your recipes and helps you get the best results – no matter how expensive the equipment you use.
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