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immersion blender?

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smilingal Feb 7, 2011 11:56 AM

Probably the only thing that my kitchen does not have is an immersion blender - but I am also hardpressed to add anything else to clutter. When I make soups, I pour into blender. What would you NEED your immersion blender for and couldn't live/cook without?

  1. Funwithfood Feb 12, 2011 07:11 PM

    Love mine. When you need it, you REALLY need it (takes up little space btw).

    1. DiveFan Feb 8, 2011 02:33 PM

      Mexican style salsas made FROM SCRATCH are easy with an immersion blender. Bottled salsa is mostly a crime against innocent vegetables.

      Guacamole made with a blender? Git a rope ....

      I've recovered many a bowl of lumpy or flour thickened sauces (think accidental dumplings) from disaster with my blender.

      Use the Search feature to find brand preferences, so I'll just advise staying away from cheap, thick plastic covered shaft, single speed ones for maximum cooking satisfaction.

      10 Replies
      1. re: DiveFan
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        smilingal Feb 8, 2011 02:40 PM

        DiveFan - so you're leading me to the next step - which one should I buy? I haven't looked into them at all as of yet - so I am sure I will enjoy the education.

        1. re: smilingal
          King of Northern Blvd Feb 8, 2011 05:02 PM

          I have the Kitchen aid 9 speed. It has been awesome. I've never tried to make a smoothie with it but I am sure it can handle the task. I think it cost $50 . It was rated best by CI I think a few years back.

          1. re: smilingal
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            Rick Feb 8, 2011 05:46 PM

            I just have a cheap $20 one from wal mart, two speeds. The shaft is all plastic and I actually prefer it that way. I often find myself using the blender in my non stick pans and those great looking metal shafts would surely scratch the non stick pans. That being said the last time I was at Costco that had a really nice metal shafted immersion blender along with a whisk and chopping attachment for $25 or $30.

          2. re: DiveFan
            DiveFan Feb 10, 2011 04:50 PM

            Found the old thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/322247
            Most posters swear by their Bamix: http://www.bamix-usa.com/pro_mono.htm
            Apparently Target no longer carries it :-(.

            The other possibility that looks good is the 'medium duty' Waring Quik Stik (pro model) for $65 at Costco Business Center:
            http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product....

            BTW I never use mine in a shallow non-stick pan - the sharp blades won't play nice with it. Just get a (not too) tall plastic or s/s jar shaped like the old school milk shake blenders use.

            1. re: DiveFan
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              LJS Feb 10, 2011 05:14 PM

              Another use for immersion blender...if you are into crock-pot/slow cookers, you can make a stew, then simply remove some of the veggies and meat with a slotted spoon and use the immersion blender to puree the rest: you have a thick, rich gravy without the hassle of reducing or extra calories and mess of flour based thickening.

              And I would never use mine in a non-stick pan either...in fact, I have given up on non-stick cookware altogether after looking at some of the studies that talk about the toxins they invariably shed after repeated heatings/cleanings.

              1. re: LJS
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                Rick Feb 10, 2011 05:27 PM

                Why would you not use an immersion blender in a non stick pan?

                1. re: Rick
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                  Rella Feb 13, 2011 06:37 PM

                  I bought a Bamix blender a few years ago. About the same time I stopped using all non-stick pans, and bought some nice heavy stainless steel pans. The blades must be too low because it really scratched the heck out of the bottom of the pan I used. I didn't return it, but never got interested enough in trying to use it because of the problem.

                  Most of my pans are too good to experiement using it again. But I'm wondering how I could try it out again on something else to see what the problem is. Any ideas what I could use. Thanks.

                2. re: LJS
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                  magiesmom Feb 10, 2011 06:16 PM

                  Same as a stew made in a regular pot, no?
                  Rick: people are concerned about scratching the surface of nonstick pans.

              2. re: DiveFan
                GraydonCarter Feb 12, 2011 05:50 PM

                My immersion blender is plastic... the blades are not exposed. I'd have no concern about the blades coming into contact with the pot. On the other hand, I wouldn't use it in a shallow pan because of the splatter.

                I'm curious about using a blender to make salsa... doesn't it puree the tomato? How do you keep it chunky?

                1. re: DiveFan
                  DiveFan Feb 13, 2011 04:54 PM

                  Um, many Mexican salsas, especially those made from dried chiles, may not be very chunky or even include tomato. Chopping those bits of (sometimes tough) dried chile skin into very small particles prevents them from having to be strained out.

                  The American made bottled (cooked) salsas intended for consumption with chips are mostly poor clones of one type of 'pico de gallo' (tomato + white onion + jalapeno). I'd just use a sharp chefs knife for the latter. If blended, usually it is called salsa Mexicana.

                2. s
                  smilingal Feb 7, 2011 03:30 PM

                  thanks all for your suggestions --- InmanSQGirl - I especially liked the salsa and vinaigrette ideas - Ironic that I just treated myself to my new blender last year - I wanted one that would chop ice and be much stronger than my very old one that was over 30 years old! And then I got a new fridge/freezer that supplies the chopped ice from the door - albeit not such a great amount. Ah well, I suppose I might have to get that immersion blender this year. Not good.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: smilingal
                    bushwickgirl Feb 8, 2011 01:58 AM

                    I definitely vote for owning an immersion blender. Among it's many uses, think homemade mayo and it's variations in under 5 seconds.

                    Please remember my cardinal rule when using, insert, turn on, blend, shut off, remove.

                    1. re: bushwickgirl
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                      smilingal Feb 8, 2011 10:54 AM

                      says the wise woman....with experience!

                    2. re: smilingal
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                      Rick Feb 8, 2011 01:16 PM

                      From a previous immersion blender thread, I've started using mine for guacamole. Most surprising is that if we cut into an avocado that isn't quite as ripe as we though, the immersion blender plus a little sour cream saves us from pitching the avocado.

                      1. re: Rick
                        s
                        smilingal Feb 8, 2011 01:34 PM

                        ANother reason .... I might need this after all!

                    3. todao Feb 7, 2011 02:48 PM

                      Once you own an immersion blender you'll throw away that nasty tall thing that can only handle small quantities of food in batches and, often times, tends to spit its contents all over your kitchen. Trust me on this one. Get a good quality immersion blender (with a wall mounted rack) and throw away that tall lanky thing you've been using.
                      Just remember, when you use it, the operative word is "immersion". Avoid lifting it too close to the surface of the material you're blending.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: todao
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                        escondido123 Feb 7, 2011 02:57 PM

                        I wouldn't throw away my blender. I use it for making smoothies that start with frozen fruit, water and a dollop of yougurt. That is something neither by immersion blender nor food processor can handle. But for most everything else, yeah immersion blender.

                        1. re: escondido123
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                          magiesmom Feb 7, 2011 03:03 PM

                          my immersion blender can handle this and it is only 250 watts, so perhaps if OP is considering buying one, one can be had that will make smoothies. I have not used my blender in the two years since I bought the immersion one.

                          1. re: magiesmom
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                            escondido123 Feb 7, 2011 04:20 PM

                            Wow, I wish mine did but it stops dead when faced with big pieces of frozen fruit. Oh well.

                          2. re: escondido123
                            scubadoo97 Feb 8, 2011 09:19 AM

                            I agree, they each have there place in the kitchen for different jobs

                            1. re: escondido123
                              nofunlatte Feb 8, 2011 12:07 PM

                              Me, too--I use my immersion blender for so much (pureeing beans, soups, etc.) but it doesn't do the trick with smoothies (I've tried). I, too, start with frozen fruit. However, if the OP doesn't often make smoothies/protein shakes (or doesn't use the frozen fruit or ice cubes), then he/she would probably be better off with the immersion blender.

                          3. i
                            InmanSQ Girl Feb 7, 2011 01:22 PM

                            Immersion blends are wonderful for avoiding needless extra cleaning.
                            1. Make that soup in the pot and puree it right inside. No pouring hot soup in batched into a blender, no cleaning the blender, no burning yourself.
                            2. Make salsa dressing for southwest salads right in the salsa jar (salsa verde with a little extra lime and cilantro works great).
                            3. Measure out the ingredients for a vinaigrette in your pyrex mixing cup and then make the emulsion in the cup.

                            There are plenty of recipes that just go faster and clean up quicker with an immersion blender. The key is the blender part is small, metal, pops off easy, and cleans in 2 seconds in your sink unlike a big blender or food processor. I make a great recipe for a chicken coating that's 1/2 and 1/2 chopped nuts and pomegranate molasses ground together. It's thick, sticky stuff that would suck to get out of a blender or food processor but cleans up much easier with the blender.

                            I also really like it for when you need a little pureeing in a soup. If you have a soup that's too thin, you can stick blend just a little in the pot, a few pulses here or there and stir the bot to let the broken down veggies / pasta thicken the broth. Quick, painless, healthier than flour or corn starch.

                            1. greygarious Feb 7, 2011 01:15 PM

                              Discussed MANY times before: http://www.chow.com/search?query=%22i...

                              1. monavano Feb 7, 2011 12:33 PM

                                I wanted to add that you have more control over the texture when you can point and blend to get just the right chunkiness (or not).

                                1. g
                                  gembellina Feb 7, 2011 12:32 PM

                                  My immersion blender also has a whisk attachment and a mini-chopper, great for whipping up a protein shake or chopping a curry paste without getting a big bit of kit dirty.

                                  1. w
                                    wineos Feb 7, 2011 12:15 PM

                                    I didn't realize how much I use/"need" my immersion blender until mine died and I didn't replace it for about two months. I was never more happy when my new one arrived, but I also don't own a blender...never had a "need" for one of those! :P

                                    1. e
                                      escondido123 Feb 7, 2011 12:12 PM

                                      An immersion blender is an easy to store appliance that can do many things. Never again will I have to dump hot liquid into a food processor or blender and then stand back when it overflows and burns me a bit. For that reason alone, I vote for an immersion blender.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: escondido123
                                        travisvance Feb 12, 2011 07:38 PM

                                        I agree. The only qualm I have with the immersion blender comes in the form of our restaurant's, which has a non-detchable blade which makes for tough cleaning. Immersion blenders are life savers for soups and large quantities of really anything that needs to be blended down.

                                        1. re: travisvance
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                                          magiesmom Feb 13, 2011 05:33 AM

                                          In a home context it is easy to clean: just turn it on in some water and ...ta da!

                                      2. monavano Feb 7, 2011 12:00 PM

                                        There's no comparison to just immersing a blender into a pot vs. blending in batches. Many immersion sticks come with whipping and chopping attachments, so that's a bonus.
                                        It's convenience, when it comes down to it.

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