Making smoothies, comparing tools. eg, blender, super(expensive), hemi(ie bullet), immersion. I'll start.
Assumption for the post which is why this is not about juicers.
Smoothies are better than juicing because
- fiber trumps sugar re insulin regulation. AKA keep the pulp and it lowers the GI of your meal. AKA even natural sugar is bad when concentrated. fiber keeps you regular. And full.
- Juicers are difficult to load and clean. Especially to clean. Blenders are a dream in comparison.
My experiences-- Right now I am using the Nutribullet.
-- How did I get here?
This all started after I saw a greensmoothiegirl video on YouTube which opened my mind to mixing fruits and vegetables which I had previously never combined. (in a world in which tomato and zucchini are vegetables). So I tried it with my freecycle(.org) Osterizer blender and it worked fine.
I've used the Osterizer, which is the 10 speed with 3 pulse buttons, for smoothies and soups and for mayonaise. While it leaves some things a bit chewy -and there's a nice quality to that- I have been positive about the results. I can drink my vegetables. I saw why Robyn's children called it green ice cream. So I lowered the sweetness to my taste.
The only thing that gave me trouble using the blender werethe strings in long pieces of celery. I heard a sound of slowness and a smell which I luckily noticed and stopped the blender to minimize the damage. I opened it up and found a mass of strings twined around the blades. Luckily I had caught it in time.
Since similar sized and heavier pieces of carrot were no problem, my conclusion is, always cut celery into smaller (3cm) chunks.
I culled all the free recipes and techniques I could from the greensmoothiegirl (GSG) site, and recently attended a free class locally. There I got to taste a sample of her smoothie made by the $400 Blendtec and *wow* as expected it was certainly smoother.
-- I watched some infomercials and did some research on alternative up rates to my Osterizer. The blender commercial with Montel as 'talent' had a lot of negative reviews re power. And some said that after you call, they up-sell you from $150 to almost $400. (fail)
-- I saw the infomercial with results of the Nutribullet and the strainer test for large particles. So I began to shop for it. In the end, I bought it from BedBathandBeyond for $80 +tax. They send me a 20% off coupon regularly and they hqve a year return policy. $20 for a recipe book? I've been making these things for months. _I don't need no recipe book._
** Since then I've been happy. - This machine powders almonds. - It turns olive oil plus garlic into a unified liquid.
- My smoothies are much much smoother than before. - They can't spurt out because the container is closed.
CONS: - For $80 (before sales tax) it's not as smooth as the $400 Blendtec.
- It makes one serving at a time, OK maybe two. A single container will only make 1/4 of what a Blendtec can. (figuring 12 oz in the filled-to-max 16 oz Nutribullet vs. 48 oz in the 54 oz Blendtec)
- I can blend hot things in the Osterizer if I let the container preheat. This worked well for "bulletproof coffee" (which in the end had too much oil for my life). Works for soups too. The Nutribullet warns against heat and overfilling. I pay attention.
- It won't make almond butter which the $400+ blenders will.
- I need to make some shelf for all the 12 parts so I can find them easily. I also want a cap for it to keep the driver mechanism clean while it sits on the counter.
-- That's about it.
I'm hoping to learn from this discussion.
I have a vitamix, and a Breville juicer, which I like a lot. My favorite juice is carrot/apple/ginger/celery. In the vitamix, it's just too chunky for me. The carrot 'debris' floats on top of the juices, and I just don't enjoy the textural components. So I use my juicer, when I am looking for a juice.
I like my vitamix for smoothies, which are supposed to be thicker and have more consistancy.
I think the machines have two different functions.
A friend gave me a JUICEMAN JMS7 Blender. Light commercial unit, 900 watts, all ball bearings, 64oz / 8 cup capacity.
I don't know much about blenders, but loaded to the top with frozen cubed fruit, yogurt and a little water this thing effortlessly blends it into smoothies.
There is a used Juiceman JMS6 on ebay now in the $30.00 bid range.
re: Kris in Beijing
I completely agree. Vitamix. Nothing else to discuss. I wanted one for years ( at least 20) and when I finally bought it I wished I hadn't waited so long.
I love my juicer too though and I don't find it difficult at all to load or clean. It's simple to use, but a different beast.
My grandmother had the VitaMix that was the metal canister/lower spout kind when I was little. She made almond butter and added Tiger's Milk powder.
Garner's Natural Food's in Manassas VA also had one that was used to make on-demand peanut butter. You scooped your own peanuts, which was a thrill for a 3yr old.
When I got my Masters, Dad gave me one inc a dry blade carafe plus a "barrel" of wheat berries as my graduation gift, and I have loved it nonstop.
They are being made and sold as local products in China now [NOT for export] and I was able to convince green churning foodies to buy them there... at the equivalent of $1000.
And everyone, everywhere, loves theirs.
... my oldest is graduating from college in a year an a half and I know what she wants : )
re: Kris in Beijing
For smoothies, I use a VitaMIx.
It does other things, which I also appreciate.
I have had Dollar Store $9.99 mixers, $40 Smoothie Makers, $100 Name-Brand blenders, and $150-$200 As-Seen-On-TV multi-purpose bullets. I have never used a Blendtec, but it does get great reviews, "even" on CH.
None that I've owned or used created a smoothie as well as the VitaMix, and all the others experienced technical difficulties over time with liquefying hard vegetables.
Do you mean 'both' as in both a Nutribullet and a blender? I have used only blenders for my smoothies. The Nutribullet does not make enough at one time and it does not versatile enough for me. But does look like it would be handy for traveling. I first used a Kitchenaid blender for smoothies and it worked very good. I then changed to a Ninja because the pitcher was larger. It was NOT good for smoothies. Then Insaved up and got the Blentec. It is great for smoothies. I chose it over the Vitamix because of it's size. It is short enough to fit under my cabinets and I love the wide pitcher. I can easily use my hand to clean around the blades and get everything out of the bottom. I do wish they would make a glass pitcher for it though. Seeds and hard grains can and has scratched the pitcher.
Thanks for your contribution.
I can tell you why the pitcher on the Blendtec is not glass. The power and speed of the Blendtec or the Vitamix is so high that the glass would break so they must use plastic or metal. There are some steel Vita mix containers. So you can feel pleased when you see the plastic.
When you say the Blendtec is more versatile than a Nutrabullet, what is it that you do with it? Do you make nut butters or grind flour or is it something else? I am curious. At $400 and twice the power, of course it is a better machine.
And last, as far as I can tell the Nutrabullet is too large and heavy for travel.
A blender, to me is more versatile that a Nutrabullet, because it is just bigger. I can make 6 pint jars of green smoothies with my Blendtec Wildside pitcher. Enough to last me about 3 to 6 days. If I don't drink them within 3 days, I will stick them in the freezer. Not as ideal nutritionaly speaking, but more convenient. Yes. Nut butters and nut milks are a plus too. Though that is rare for me at the time. I do like to grind grains, nuts, and seeds to make a meal or flour. The nutribullet can do that though.
The Blendtec does make soups, which sounds interesting, but I have never used it for that.
I also did not like the idea of turning my pitcher upside down. Looks like a leak and a mess waiting to happen. But if I already had a nutribullet that was making good smoothies, and that is all I wanted to do with it, and I did not mind making my smoothies fresh everytime, and it did not leak, :o)then I would just keep using it.
I guess for me, the biggest advantage to a blender is that you can make bigger quantities of everything.
I don't put celery in my smoothies, but I have not had a problem with strings around the blade with my Blendtec. I did occasionaly with my Kitchenaid blender. In my single auger, vertical juicer, I just break the stringy veggies in small pieces to keep that from happening.
Oh, and just to add to it. My daughter bought a baby bullet to use for her baby to make his food, and she said it worked great. But she thought it was just easier to use her Kitchenaid blender and it worked about as well.