Top Kitchen Blender Tips for Beginners
So, you have got yourself a brand spanking new high-powered blender. You love how it can maximize nutrition for you and your family. And you love being able to add lots of much needed fruits and vegetables into your diet in a gazillion of tasty and nutritious ways.
Wondering how to get started blending the right way? Awesome! Check out the following Top Kitchen Blender Tips to help you avoid common mistakes and take your blending know-how to the next level.
Ready to get your blender learning started? Great! Read on...
Tip 1 - Load jar the right way.
The most important tip for successful blending is loading the jar in optimal order. You want to start with liquids and / or your softest high moisture ingredients first. The reason for this order is because liquid helps shift, move and carry other ingredients into the blending action. Once your jar is loaded with liquid and soft high moisture ingredients in the optimal order, then load in your remaining harder ingredients, with the hardest of them like ice or frozen produce being last.
Tip 2 - Do not overfill your blender jar.
Leave room in the blender jar for blending action and enjoy hands free blending operation. You can fill to jar specified capacity however the end blend volume should not exceed measurement markings on the jar. Basically, you want the top third of the jar clear when blend is complete. If you overfill a jar it may force the lid open via ingredients bouncing into the lid. The likelihood of a jar lid being forced open with overfilling will vary depending on type of ingredients and how much it is overfilled.
Tip 3 - Avoid cavitation.
The making of an air-pocket just above the blades is referred to as cavitation. When this happens, the blend is suspended above and out of reach of the blending blades which then halts blend progress. This is most likely to happen when a blend is too cold and/or does not have a good ratio of liquid to frozen ingredients. When this happens, consider the following:
- Rectify cause. Since cavitation is most common to blends that are too cold with a low ratio of liquid, simply correct the liquid ratio of your recipe.
- Pop the air pocket! Try these two ways to pop the cavitation air pocket.
- Turn off your blender, wipe down the blender jar side with your spatula and pop the air pocket. Repeat as needed.
- Lift the jar off the blender base and give it a firm bounce over one thigh with leg bent. Repeat as needed.
- For cavitation occurring in extra thick blends like nut butters and frozen blends, you may do the above or consider using a specialty blender jar like the Blendtec Twister Jar, which is optimized to make this task faster, easier and without cavitation.
Tip 4 - Prep Ingredients for blending.
For long ingredients like celery, leeks, carrots and the like, cut to a length no longer than half the height of your blender jar. For round ingredients like apples and pears, prep them by cutting in half or quarter if particularly large or hard.
Tip 5 - Clean Jar Promptly.
The blender jar should not be used as a food storage container nor should you leave liquids in it overnight. Instead, wash your jar promptly after each use. When cleaning is done promptly, you will get best results with running a clean cycle to automatically clean your blender (water + dish soap + clean cycle or about 30 seconds runtime). Other jar cleaning options is to just place in the top shelf of the dishwasher rack or manually clean with soft sponge and soap.
Tip 6 - Use it for much more than just smoothies.
High powered blenders are incredibly versatile that can wow and delight your taste buds, and help you achieve more nutrition in so many ways. Smoothies is typically the first thing that come to mind when people think of a high-powered blender, like a Blendtec or Vitamix. But they frequently overlook how much more it can really do. Are you now wondering, what else can you do with your high-powered blender? Glad you asked! Read on to see just a sample of the many other ways you can use your high-powered blender.
- Purees – Homemade purees for all-natural ingredient pureed snacks like apple cinnamon sauce, desserts like apple, pear, goji berry fruit leathers, and baby foods like banana and mango puree, coconut milk rice pudding with blueberry compote, or puree for pies such as pumpkin puree with pumpkin spice.
- Whole Juice – enjoy whole juicing blender made juice and get more nutrients than traditional juicer extracted type of juice. With whole juice you get the pulp and all the fiber. Having a pulp with whole juice means it contains more fibre and protein than a traditional extracted juice. It also saves money because you do not throw away the fibre packed pulp. Also, by keeping the fibre, whole juice provides a satiety that extracted juice will not. Check out some delicious, nutrient rich whole juices to try: Blendtec carrot juice, Blendtec tomato vegetable juice, Blendtec Garden Green Giant Juice, Vitality green juice, pineapple orange juice, raw healing juice and more.
- Non-Dairy Milks – save tonnes! Skip the cost of premade non-dairy milks on grocery store shelves and opt to easily make your own fresh, all natural and in a variety of fun and tasty flavours. Like; peanut milk, coconut milk, rice milk, almond milk, hemp milk, cashew milk, walnut milk, pecan milk and more.
- Nut butters and Seed butters with all-natural fresh ingredients like peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, pumpkin seed butter and flavouring butter recipes like cinnamon cocoa hemp heart butter
- Food processing prep of foods like making low carb cauliflower rice, and broccoli rice.
- Batters for pancakes, waffles, crepes, muffins, cakes, cookies and quick breads
- Silky smooth soups or choose smooth with bits of added chunks (like smooth butternut squash soup with a sautéed onion, garlic and minced cilantro – one of my personal favs)
- Whipped up eggs for fluffy easy minced ingredients scrambled eggs, omelettes and frittatas
- Homemade sauces, dressings, marinades and dips like pesto, hummus, baba ghanoush, marinara, easy pizza sauce, queso, Thai peanut sauce, Caesar salad dressing, hot sauce, tomato, alfredo delight, alfredo dairy free yum, spectacular barbeque sauce, mint cilantro chutney, chipotle, homemade ketchup, hot sauce, sriracha, mayonnaise, carbonara, lemon garlic aioli, vegan cheese sauce, tzatziki, applesauce, thanksgiving gravy, vegan mushroom gravy, chimichurri, crazy-amazing cranberry sauce and so much more.
- Frozen treats like vanilla ice cream (dairy or dairy-free), sorbets, sherbets, popsicles and freezies
- Grind Grains and Seeds. Make your own super fresh whole wheat, sprouted wheat, oat flour and gluten free flours like almond flour,
- Grind to powder. In seconds make your own icing sugar by blending sugar to a powder or make own dry powder seasoning by blending up dried herbs like thyme to thyme powder or dried turmeric to turmeric powder, or dried garlic to garlic powder and cloves to clove power or cinnamon sticks to cinnamon powder and so on.
- Grind Meat. Yes, you can grind meats to mince and mix it up with seasonings fast and easy. To do this just cut your meat into 1-inch cubes. Chill it for 30 minutes in advance so that it does not get too soft and gummy for mincing. You’ll notice the chilled cubed meat is just right when the outer part is stiff, and the center is still pliable. Do not fill the blender jar more than the halfway of its measurement capacity. It is ideal to have ample room for the meat to move freely. Depending on your jar size, the amount it can mince will differ. For the Blendtec WildSide Jar, do not put in more than ½ a pound max to mince at a time. To season mix your minced meat in the WildSide+, load half your chilled cubed meat into two portions. Put in half, then your seasoning and then the remainder of chilled meat cubes on top (not to exceed the ½ pound total in the WildSide+ Jar and not to exceed ¼ pound total in the FourSide Jar). Once cubes and seasoning are in the jar, just press the pulse button until ground to your desired consistency. Typically, this will be 15 to 20 pulses for 1 to 2 seconds each on a Blendtec with the WildSide+ or FourSide Jar. Other blenders and jars will vary in loading, capacity, capability or proficiency at mincing function and time it takes to complete.
SIDE NOTE: Have you heard some health and government authorities warn that cutting boards can pose a risk for cross contaminating even after cleaning and sanitizing? Here is what Health Canada recommends we do for safe food handling: “Separate your cutting boards. Use one board for produce and another for raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood.” And the warning is also made by others like the FDA, the USDA along with FoodSafety.gov telling us “Separate. Do not cross-contaminate” and why it matters. While cutting boards and blender jars are not the same thing, they both get scratches with use which makes sanitizing not as reliable. Personally, we prefer the assurance of having a dedicated jar rather than wonder if there is any risk after our sanitation effort. We have not heard of anyone else saying they do this or recommending it. What about you? Something to think about next time you plan to process meat in your blender jar. Which many will agree homemade fresh ground makes the best burgers and gives you the best quality control of what is in your minced meat.
- Cocktails and Mocktails – make your favourite cocktails and mocktails for entertaining or whenever you feel like having a special treat. Think of anytime being able to whip up the likes of: Hawaiian vacation style Mai Tai, quick and easy Mango Margaritas, fresh and Spicy Bloody Mary, Frozen Amaretto Sour, Blue Lagoon Margaritas, Kiwi Margarita, Grapefruit Margaritas, Orange and Cream Creamsicle Martini, Coffee and Irish Cream Frozen Mudslide, Blood Orange Champagne Ice Cream Float, Tiki Cantaloupe-Coconut Summer Cocktail, Melon Lime Slushy, Pina colada, Strawberry Daiquiri, Frozen Derby Mint Juleps, Cocojito (frozen mojito) and of course so much more.
Tip 7 – Jazz Up your Liquid Bases.
When it comes to smoothies one of the most common liquid base choices is water. But while that works great and amazing, you owe it to yourself to discover how to swap out the ordinary and perhaps make your already amazing recipe even more extraordinary in taste and benefits! Interested? Great! There is no limit on this approach, here are some ideas to get you started with experimenting.
- Use herbal teas for flavour and some offer some extra special health qualities. You may want to get the most of their qualities but steeping overnight. Easy starters: chamomile, hibiscus, ginger, licorice, dandelion and peppermint. Other teas that you may enjoy but have a stronger flavour green tea, yerba matte.
- Dairy Milk, buttermilk, and yogurt from cow or goat
- Non-Dairy Milks like almond milk, coconut milk / cream, rice milk, oat milk and hemp milk and yogurts made with non-dairy milks.
- Probiotic rich ferments like: milk kefir (kefir grains ferment a dairy milk), water kefir (water kefir grains ferment sugar water), kombucha (fermented tea drink), kvass (traditional Russian and Baltic fermented beverage from rye bread or bread with malt), mint lassi (mint leaves, yogurt and honey), jun (fermented green tea and honey), and carrot kanji (a fermented north Indian probiotic drink made with carrots, beetroot, ground mustard and water).
Tip 8 - Ice Cube Alternatives for Smoothies.
Smoothies are preferred cold and to get that way a common go to method is just add ice. This works great, but you have other options that you may like even better. Consider trying out some of these alternatives.
- Use frozen fruit instead of ice cubes. This can be store bought frozen fruit or freezing some of your own fresh fruit. The benefit of this is you may be able to make your smoothie more flavourful, nutrient dense and less inclined to want to add a sweetener. However, if you do not have enough soft fruit to create enough liquid, you may need to add more water to blend a higher ration of frozen ingredients. Look back at Tip 7 for ideas on liquid options.
- Make ice cubes out of the liquids other than water. See tip 7 for ideas of other liquids to freeze.
To learn more about using your high-powered blender, along with benefits, tips and advice, check out the Learning Centre for more. If you new to blending, you may find the following articles especially helpful: Blending 101: Beginners Guide to Blending, Why Blend? Top Benefits of Blending Food and the High-powered Blending FAQ.