Handy Guide: Blenders

The blender, which has been mixing America’s drinks for almost 100 years, is doing its best to fit into today’s fast-paced world. Blenders have joined the trend of quick, healthful foods by whipping up smoothies, whether made with the traditional fruits or ingredients such as spinach.

The “Will It Blend?” series of 106 videos from blender maker Blendtec, featuring the company’s geekish founder Tom Dickson blending glow sticks, marbles and scores of other unexpected things, went viral on YouTube, with more than half a billion views. And no, you can’t blend an iPad at home.

And, as Dickson shows us in Will It Blend: D.C. Edition , some icons from the nation’s capital just can’t withstand a high-powered blender’s blades.


The KitchenAid Five-Speed KSB560WH featuers a 56-ounce capacity, easy-to-clean touch-pad controls and a polycarbonate pitcher marked with graduated measurements. Cost: $91.95. (Williams-Sonoma) (LOW)

Not to worry. Between iced coffee drinks, dog food, protein power shakes, baby food and margaritas, the blender has become even more versatile in the kitchen.

WHAT’S NEW:

·Heating elements. Some blenders have heaters to warm up soup you’ve created in your blender.

·BPA free. Many plastic blender jars are now made without bisphenol A, a chemical that has raised health concerns.

·Preprogrammed settings. Special programs for popular things such as smoothies, soups and crushed ice take the worry out of figuring out what button to push.

LOW, MEDIUM, HIGH:

Bradley Kleparek, a buyer at Williams-Sonoma, recommends these three blenders from the store’s assortment:

KitchenAid Five-Speed KSB560WH

·56-ounce capacity.

·Touch-pad controls are easy to clean.

·Polycarbonate pitcher is marked with graduated measurements.

·$91.95

Breville Ikon BBL 600

·Preprogrammed settings for smoothies and crushed ice. Lid has removable insert for adding ingredients.

·Digital display features a timer to track blending times.

·$199.95

Vitamix Pro 500

·Powerful pulse function controls texture and thickness and can be used at any speed.

·Brushed stainless steel finish resists fingerprints. Laser-cut stainless steel blades. 64-ounce container is BPA free, lightweight and shatterproof.

·$599.95

OPERATING TIPS:

·Liquids first. Put your liquids in first and solid foods next for best results.

·No hand stirring. Never stick a spoon in your blender while it is on.

·Wash by hand. Dishwashers can be hard on blender parts. Julie Owens, Blendtec’s marketing manager, suggests that after each use, you put a cup of water and a drop of dish soap in your blender and pulse for few seconds, then rinse well.

SHOP SMART:

·Decide how much you want to spend. Advanced features and horsepower will add to the price. Will you just be blending drinks or also making nut butters and desserts?

·Determine how big your blending jobs are going to be. Are you single or are you going to be making drinks for a crowd? Jar sizes range from about 48 to 64 ounces.

·Choose between a glass or plastic jar. Glass doesn’t stain or scratch, says Cuisinart spokeswoman Mary Rodgers, but it weighs more.

BY THE NUMBERS:

3

Most popular uses for blenders: Frozen alcoholic drinks, ice-based smoothies and health/diet drinks

6

Average number of years after which a blender is usually replaced (Source: Appliance Magazine).

85

Percentage of households that own blenders (Source: Appliance Magazine).

WANT MORE HANDY GUIDES? Pick your appliance:

Ceiling Fans | Vacuums | Dishwashers | Dehumidifiers | Refrigerators | Toasters

The home and design coverage of Jura Koncius has taken her inside hundreds of homes, from tiny studios in Penn Quarter to country castles in Warrenton. Jura also hosts the Home Front live chat, Thursdays at 11 a.m. ET.
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