Help with pureeing food...
I am a full time caregiver for my parent who has advanced dementia. I now need to puree food and my Kitchen Aid blender is not producing the texture I need when pureeing meats. Instead of a texture similar to baby food, I end up with small shreds and the addition of extra liquid results in wetter small shreds floating in liquid. Still a choking hazard.
My local kitchen gadget shop suggests I purchase a different blender which costs a significant amount of money.
I hate to invest so much if a blender is not the way to go. My Google search turns up conflicting advice concerning using blenders or using food processors.
What do you all use to puree?
Thanks for any suggestions!
Best advice I've seen. There is less waste of whatever is being pureed using an immersible blender. I've stopped using the other kind of food processor and blender.
I save wide mouth jars in which the immersible blender will fit. My greatest use is making a puree of hot peppers for chili and 'arrabbiato minestrone denso' (very spicy thick soup).
Just use a silicon spatula to scrap what clings to the blender into the jar when the blender is unplugged and removed, and screw on the jar top.
Clean up is easy for me because I'm a container saver. I save containers from 3 pounds of ricotta. Another wide mouth jar will also do if you do not have a ricotta container. When it is time to clean the blender fill the plastic container about half way with hot water, add some dish washing detergent, plug the blender in the socket and make it whirl around in the soapy water. Detach the spinner from the motor, rinse the spinner and let it dry.
I agree with a stick immersion blender if you don't want to spent a significant amount of money. It will take longer to puree, but it does what it needs to do. They also come in varying prices and strengths. I don't find that food processors actually "puree" as well as I might like.
Someone else has said that the NutriBullet does a good job of blending/pureeing, but I'd be more inclined to buy a good name blender (KitchenAid, etc.) before a NutriBullet.
A food processor is what you need. Both Kitchen Aid, and Cuisinart make a mini-prep with a 2cup bowl. Might run you around $25.
An immersion blender will not help you. They simply don't have the power. I have a super nice Dynamic Pro and it still wouldn't do what you need.
A food mill would be a good option and they are very inexpensive, though I think a lot of the really cheap ones should be avoided.
If you do go the blender route I would recommend a Warring Commercial "X-treme," series blender. Way cheaper than Vitamix and as good or better (Think $350, instead of $550). The model blondanonima has (one of these: http://www.waringpro.com/catalog.php?...) is nowhere near as powerful as the commercial series, and in a complete different category than the vitamix blenders so the comparison there is probably of limited usefulness.
I don't have much experience with food processors (besides a cheap Cuisinart model that probably wouldn't be able to puree meats), though they are generally cheaper than the type of blender that you'd need. If a food processor has the capacity to do what you need I'd look into those before a blender as they are substantially cheaper.
This might sound tangental, but I made all of my own pureed baby food, using my Cuisiart food processor. Some things took a LONG time (meat!) to blend down. Like 2 minutes or more for chicken thighs. I would presume the same problem could happen with your blender. I also happen to work in nursing homes (as a physical therapist) but the speech therapist has always been after the dietary staff to use more liquid to get a better puree.
Good luck! Caring for a loved one with dementia is so challenging.
I've been making pureed foods for my elderly mother while she recovers in SNF for the past two months.
My food mill (top of the line Rosle) works well for pureeing watery vegetables, but I don't think you can achieve the homogeneous texture required for a clinical diet in processing proteins. Likewise an immersion blender is not going to do the trick with meats unless you use a lot more liquid, which I think you're trying to avoid.
A food processor can do the work, but it does not achieve as smooth a texture as a blender can. I do, however, use a 1-cup capacity Cuisinart mini processor to work with vegetables and for making condiments. Tapenade, romesco sauce, sauce gribiche, salsa, pipian, chimichurri . . . all help dress up the plate of pureed foods with color and a pop of enticing flavor.
My workhorse is the 2 hp Centaur blender, described here. I paid $150.
It makes short work of vegetables with no added water other than what is clinging to the surface from steaming. I had not tried meats in it until today. I just pureed short ribs (cooked overnight in the oven at 190F until butter soft and then plucked of bone and cartilage) with some of the braising liquid and cooked down aromatics. The beefy puree turned out very uniform and fine-grained.
But before you invest in a new blender, do follow autumn's advice and try running your existing blender longer. Wear ear plugs if you need to. Friends used to ask me all the time how I achieved the silken texture of my creamy soups. Patience...with my old blender I used to run it for two minutes and put up with the clatter. Never needed to strain anything through a sieve to be perfectly smooth. A longer blending time might be your solution.