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The high-power blender topic


Fat Guy
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Final temperature really depends on how long you run the blender. I'm sure it's theoretically possible to hit boiling temperatures, but I'm not aware of anybody who bothers to do that. It's already a staggeringly inefficient way to heat food, so the idea is to heat it only as much as needed to serve warm.

I would have to agree; not only does the blender take longer but it's incredibly noisy!

Just for grins, I repeated my experiment in bringing 1.5L of room-temperature water up to a boil, this time in a covered stainless-steel saucepan on a gas stove instead of in a Vitamix. Unsurprisingly, the stove was almost 2X faster, completing the job in about 10 minutes vs. 18 minutes for the Vitamix. This implies about 837 watts going into the water from the stove vs. 465 watts from the blender. See chart below.

I think I'll stick to the blender for blending and the stove for cooking...

1500ml_water_vitamix_vs_stove.jpg

And of course it would be much faster and more efficient still on an induction stove.

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From the perspective of energy efficiency, you'd always want to blend with the blender and heat with a stove or other dedicated heating appliance. But there are other measures of efficiency, like number of utensils to clean and number of steps in the cooking process, that argue for using a little more time and energy to heat something in the blender so you don't have to transfer it to a pot, heat it up on the stove, and clean the pot. I will say that, while the tiny physicist inside me recoils at the notion of heating with a blender (unless it's a Thermomix), the practical cook likes being able to put in all the ingredients for soup (or fondue), push a button and be done with it.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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You have to take into account that there are certain very good reasons for "cooking' soups in the Vita Mix.

Delicate cream soups cooked on a burner have to be watched constantly because if they scorch, even a little, the flavor is obnoxious. No one wants to eat something that tastes like it has been vulcanized.

Soups containing some vegetables (or fruits or nuts, etc.) that have a high sugar content also tend to scorch and again, there is that unfortunate burnt flavor that permeates the entire mass.

I use it to prepare a Carrot, Sorrel, Ginger soup (or substitute sweet potatoes or winter squash for the carrots) that will "cook" to the point that it appears to be boiling (temp tested with my Thermapen shows it at 186 degrees at the hottest) in 4 minutes 48 seconds.

I prepare a cream of chestnut soup that scorches if you turn away from the stove for just a moment, but I can toss all the prepared ingredients into the Vita Mix, turn it on, set a timer for 5 minutes and it will be ready to serve when the timer goes off and meanwhile I have been able to do other tasks without having to constantly watch and stir the soup.

Another cream soup that has a tendency to easily burn is made with Swiss cheese and almonds. I've been preparing that one for many years and there is both the scorching and the unfortunate texture that Swiss cheese develops if it is cooked too long or the temperature is just a tad too high. How anything could be stringy and grainy at the same time does not make sense, but it has happened to me when I cooked this on a burner. In the Vita Mix, perfect every time!

The Vita Mix is not a substitute for a stove top burner but it certainly makes a difference between success and failure when someone is trying to juggle six different things at the same time and is not able to devote all their attention to that one pot or pan.

It also frees up a burner for another item.

Edited by andiesenji (log)
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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I get my Vita-Mix TOMORROW! I'm really excited. I'm expecting a couple weeks on a liquid diet.

In reading this thread I was disappointed that there weren't more recipes or fun experiments yielding new and interesting foods. It's first job is going to be purring a couple of kilos of spinach stems into juice, I think. I want to start playing with sauces after that. And ice cream, I've got to try the whole add a head of cauliflower and the kids'll never know thing.

Any fun stuff out there to try?

BTW, is there any scientific data to back up the bioavailability claims? It's not the reason I bought it, just curious.

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I get my Vita-Mix TOMORROW! I'm really excited. I'm expecting a couple weeks on a liquid diet.

In reading this thread I was disappointed that there weren't more recipes or fun experiments yielding new and interesting foods. It's first job is going to be purring a couple of kilos of spinach stems into juice, I think. I want to start playing with sauces after that. And ice cream, I've got to try the whole add a head of cauliflower and the kids'll never know thing.

Any fun stuff out there to try?

My VitaMix came in handy a couple of weeks ago when I made some mozzarella spheres from the Khymos recipe collection. The spheres were made with a mozzarella/cream mixture and an alginate bath. I used the VitaMix to liquify a really fresh tomato together with some salt and olive oil. I let it run for a while to warm the tomato juice, and then injected the result into the mozzarella spheres. It was a classic flavor combination, with a very interesting hot/cold twist.

IMG_0725.jpg

IMG_0727.jpg

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This thread made me want a high speed blender bad. When Modernist Cuisine dipped under CDN$400 on preorder, I figured I could swing it financially, so three days ago I became the proud owner of a shiny new Blendtec blender. It is so epically, intergalactically better than my pathetic wheezing old Waring. It's like buying a riding lawnmower after owning a scythe.

I know your sides probably all still hurt from laughing about the Blendtec ice cream recipes but for me they made me think outside the regular ice cream box. The new husband is intolerant of dairy so I can make ice cream with soy milk or non-dairy creamer. I can make myself a really good thick ice cream-like smoothy using milk and fruit. The texture (thick and smooth) achieved with really pedestrian ingredients is remarkable. I am in love with this thing. Thanks everybody who contributed to this thread.

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I currently work at a 4-star NYT restaurant, and have been at two 3-stars in the past. Every blender in each of the 3 restaurants has been a Vita-Mix. Nothing else is even considered. They are amazing.

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  • 2 months later...

Does anyone have a recommendation on where to buy an extra jug for a Vita-mix at a good price?

Thanks!

Dan

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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Does anyone have a recommendation on where to buy an extra jug for a Vita-mix at a good price?

Thanks!

Dan

I scoured the internet trying to find a good price for a 32oz jug...any deal you may find always has the catch of the blade not being included. I'd figure out when your local costco is having their vita-mix demo, you can get it there about 25% off, that what I did.

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Check eBay

I've purchased replacement containers at better prices than regular vendors but you have to watch for a good buy -

I stick to "Buy it now" sales.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I can't vouch for any of this, but here's a review site. They seem to like the vita prep 3 ...

http://www.3blenders.com/Choose.html

By the way, I wish someone would call out these manufacturers on their looney-tunes power ratings. 3 horsepower? No way. A motor that's 100% efficient (which doesn't exist) would consume over 2200 watts. The maximum consumption of the 3hp Vita Prep is barely over half this. Such marketing doesn't inspire my confidence, but the makers are all guilty ...

When I got my VitaPrep, I quickly realized that I was using an inverted woodworking router - similar power rating, somewhat similar variable rpms. About that "horsepower" rating - woodworking tools have exactly the same issue with these non-sensical ratings. I don't recall exactly how the marketing-speak works on that, but if you're interested, do a search on something like "router hp rating" or "woodworking tool hp ratings". You'll find many involved discussions on various woodworking sites that explain the rating and what sort of power you get in reality.

My takeaway from power tools and blenders is that you should think about "classes" of power, but not sweat small differences on paper. A well made tool with a 2.5hp motor isn't going to be noticeable different than a junky one with a 3hp motor - the design of the tool and the quality of the motors will matter much more.

Something that is different between megablenders and woodworking is the issue of motor over heating and/or stalling. With a router, you attach a shaped cutting blade to the motor and plow through large amounts of solid wood, turning it into sawdust - yes, you can try to run the bit too deeply into the wood, and the motor will stall (the worst part of that is that a dull and/or slow moving bit will burn or scorch the wood.) But when you're using a tool correctly, overheating is rare. Somehow, pureeing frozen bananas seems like a huge step down in power requirements compared with turning cubic inch after cubic inch of solid oak into sawdust.

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Yesterday's Gear Patrol email has a segment about the Ninja Professional Blender that has a 72-ounce pitcher and what looks like a center shaft that is different than other blenders.

Has anyone seen or used one of these?

(It's half-way down the page.)

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Yesterday's Gear Patrol email has a segment about the Ninja Professional Blender that has a 72-ounce pitcher and what looks like a center shaft that is different than other blenders.

Has anyone seen or used one of these?

(It's half-way down the page.)

I have one. It was a gift I received for my birthday. The blender I had before (for 25 years) finally died and my SIL gave me the Ninja. I believe she purchased it at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

It threw me for a loop at first because I was used to making smoothies in my previous blender and the Ninja is quite a bit larger than most home blenders. I think I've finally figured out the right proportions for my smoothies.

I use some frozen fruit in my smoothies and the Ninja obliterates the stuff quickly and efficiently without much strain on the motor. And that's just using the 2nd speed (of three speeds). It's supposed to make crushed ice quickly, too.

The tower blades are quite sharp. It is basically a spindle that mounts the motor-driven knob at the bottom of the pitcher. When you place the lid on, the top of the spindle is held securely in place by a notch in the lid.

While the blender is on, one of the corners of the lid can be lifted open so you can add stuff, though the opening isn't really that big. I imagine it's aimed more at the addition of liquids than the addition of fruit pieces, etc.

It cleans up easily though the spindle requires special handling due to the sharpness of the blades.

I think the Ninja is going to be overkill for me since it's likely I will only use it to make smoothies.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Why do makers insist on button speed controls? The single biggest appeal of the vitamix to me is the knob; start slow easily and easily just run it up the the just-right speed.

+1

Monterey Bay area

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I'm trying to decide between a vita prep 3 or the new pro 500. The 500 has a few food settings, pulse and a longer warranty. The prep has a bigger motor and is cheaper. Any opinions between the two? I'm using strictly for home use.

Thanks

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  • 2 weeks later...

My friend, Karen, ordered a juicer off of an infomercial and she wanted me to help her figure out how to use it. It's a Health Master by Montel Williams. That didn't excite me at all, but after seeing it in action, I think it's a high powered blender and it's only $199.

It's not a juicer, it's a blender. It has 1200 watts and a "peak horsepower" of 2HP (yes, I know that's silly). I have a Blendtec and this seemed to work just as well. I put some ice, quartered lemons with rind and a little water in it and it turned them to slush in no time. Karen said on the infomercial they boiled soup with friction, just like other high-powered blenders.

It only has 3 settings, run, ice and pulse. So it doesn't have all the fancy variable settings that the Blendtec has. It has a tamper like the Vitamix but I didn't have to use it. I have to tell you, I am really impressed with how it worked, and at less than half the price I think it's quite a deal.

To compare:

Health Master 1200 watts 2 peak HP

Vitamix 1380 watts 2 peak HP

Blendtec 1560 watts ??

Waring Xtreme ?? 3.5 peakHP

Waring Professional 390 watts ??

(regular blender)

If you want a high powered blender and you are put off by the high price, this might be an alternative. It looked sturdy. The bottom of my Blendtec pitcher leaks where the rotor is inserted. I think the extreme torque has loosened the seal. The Health Master has fixed this problem by making the majority of the bottom steel. The torque of the rotor torques on a solid piece of steel instead of a plastic+steel interface. Much sturdier.

Do any of you have any experience with this thing?

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" Why do makers insist on button speed controls? The single biggest appeal of the vitamix to me is the knob; start slow easily and easily just run it up the the just-right speed."

I don't have a high power blender. I am guessing mostly. And I am sorry I have not read the entire thread.

A blender is a very simple mechanical device with one motor directly driving the blade assembly. No gears. Typically it uses a universal motor. To me, a high power motor is not neccesary. Considering a washing machine with a big load of laundry can be run by a 1/2 horse power motor. Why do you need 2 hp to chop a small carrot? But it makes good marketing, more hp more appeal.

I think proper blade / container design is more responsible for good blending/mixing than motor power.

A button controlled motor speed is probably less desirable than a variable speed control. Variable speed gives the universal motor soft start and therefore less stress. Electronic speed control is also based on PWM design which gives the motor maximum torgue at low speed.

dcarch

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"By the way, I wish someone would call out these manufacturers on their looney-tunes power ratings. 3 horsepower? No way. A motor that's 100% efficient (which doesn't exist) would consume over 2200 watts. The maximum consumption of the 3hp Vita Prep is barely over half this. Such marketing doesn't inspire my confidence, but the makers are all guilty ... "

Regarding motor wattage:

I think the rating is based on full load without having the motor burnt out. A motor rated at 2,200 watts draws very little power if just free wheeling.

Also, rubber coupling is used mostly for noise control. Metal coupling would be extremely noisy.

dcarch

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I recently received a Vitamix 5200 in the mail. Totally pleased with the blender. Soups and sauces as smooth as silk. I was not too put off by the price although I admit it's steep. I've gone through at least four hundred dollars in cheap blenders in my life. I hope this one will be the last one I buy. I really like the rheostat speed control over preset push button designs.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Yesterday's Gear Patrol email has a segment about the Ninja Professional Blender that has a 72-ounce pitcher and what looks like a center shaft that is different than other blenders.

Has anyone seen or used one of these?

(It's half-way down the page.)

Just a follow-up to my previous post about the Ninja.

I made a batch of Jayme's salsa and encountered a possible problem with the Ninja blender that might be an issue to some users.

I needed to taste the salsa for seasoning and had to reach inside the blender with a spoon to get a taste (which can only be done with the blender off). Since the blender has a tall tower of exposed blades in the center, putting your hand inside might not be the best idea even though the blades are standing still at this point. The blades are quite sharp. My brilliant solution was just to use a very long wooden spoon to get a taste so my hand didn't actually go inside the blender. Problem solved.

Another design issue with the blender is that the blender does not turn on if the lid is off. In order to turn the blender on, the pitcher has to be locked on to the base (done with a simple twist of the pitcher).

Also, the lid has to be on and the lid handle locked into the down position. If the handle isn't locked down flat, the blender will not turn on. What may be a problem with this is when you are finished blending and push the "release" button on the lid that allows the lid handle to be able to be lifted up, actually lifting the lid up and off the blender pitcher can be a little challenging. I don't know if it's a matter of the blending causing suction/a vacuum, but it does take some effort after blending to get the lid up and off the pitcher. However, the handle is quite wide and you can get your hand under it to get a decent lift but fighting the vacuum may be a little tough for those who have strength issues with their hands.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been looking at blenders, and right now I am leaning toward the Vita-Mix BarBoss.

The blender will be primarily used for drinks.

Any opinions on this machine, or perhaps another I should consider?

Thanks! :smile:

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fyi... I do not know if this applies to the commercial Vita-Mix blenders but I believe they are having a Mothers Day Factory Sale at the end of the month (April 30).

"The main thing to remember about Italian food is that when you put your groceries in the car, the quality of your dinner has already been decided." – Mario Batali
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