There are two types of blender – a jug style or hand-held version. Both types can liquefy ingredients to make smoothies or soups, crush pieces of ice, or blend harder items like nuts into butters. You can even make your own flour by grinding up grains such as oats, wheat or rye – perfect if a recipe calls for an obscure flour that you don’t have at home.rices have come down in recent years, with appliances costing much less than they did in the 80s and 90s.
The jug style is made up of a motor unit with controls, and a lidded jug with a fixed spinning blade. Jug blenders generally have a capacity of one-two litres depending on their size. They’re ideal for making big batches of soup or dealing with larger ingredients such as bread or vegetables.
Hand blenders are great if you have a small kitchen that’s lacking storage space. They’re tall and slim with a smaller set of blades, often encircled by a protective guard. This lets you reach food in the corners of pans without scratching the surface. They’re better at dealing with smaller amounts of softer food, e.g. pureeing baby food. Additional attachments are often available for whisking, frothing or chopping.
A jug style or a handheld can be used to make smoothies or soups, crush up ice, or blend nuts into butters.
Some jug blenders are available with set functions for specific tasks, such as smoothies, soup, frozen desserts and milkshakes. Often, a pulse mode is included to help ensure all food chunks are blitzed. A fruit mill is used to catch pips so that you can create velvety sauces.
Speeds and Controls
Blenders have an on/off button, and the speed is usually controlled by a dial. Higher spec models tend to have set power levels which can vary from five all the way up to 10! Other models give you variable speed options if you turn the dial by hand, giving you precise control over the power and speed. Built-in sensors are available with some brands that adjust the speed to the task at hand.
Prices vary depending on the brand, power of the motor, and its capacity. Jug blenders are more expensive, as they have more powerful blades, motors and speed options. This means they can deal with a wider range of food. Also, the material and jug size affect the price, with larger capacity glass jugs being more
expensive. A standard low to middle range blender can cost from £30 up to £150, while top-end, high-tech models can reach up to £600. Hand blenders tend to be the cheaper option as they’re smaller, less powerful and are only suitable for a few select tasks. Pricewise, they vary from £20 to £120, and the higher-end versions come with a range of accessories – these might include different blades and arms, as well as detachable blending pitchers. Some brands have colour options and include a storage case.
Some jug blenders are available with set functions for specific tasks, such as smoothies, soup, frozen desserts and milkshakes.
Blenders are handy for prepping food, but can be a real pain to clean.
Reaching the bottom of a jug blender can be difficult, especially when you’re trying to avoid the blades. Many jugs are now dishwasher friendly, but it’s worth double checking – they can get scratched or turn cloudy after a few washes. It’s worth giving it a rinse out and soak with washing up liquid straight after use, to help loosen any stuck food. For really stubborn bits, try putting in warm, soapy water, and turning the blender on for a minute before air drying.
Hand blenders are much easier to wash – either give the blades a quick rinse and sponge or wipe clean with a wet cloth.
Plastic or Glass Jug
Jug blenders are available in two types of material, glass or plastic, both of which have their own benefits. The choice often boils down to style preferences and price differences.
Glass jugs can look sleek and more professional. Plus, they’re very strong and don’t absorb any food odours. However, they are more expensive and heavier than their plastic counterpart. If dropped, the likelihood is that they will smash too.
Plastic jugs have become much more stylish over the years, but they still don’t look as smart as a glass jug. Plastic versions are hardwearing, shatter proof and can often be recycled – they’re also the cheaper option. But, after being washed in the dishwasher a few times, they can start to cloud over, and can absorb smells of stronger tasting food such as garlic.
Many jugs are now dishwasher-friendly, but it’s worth double checking.