Blenders are versatile and simple to use, which can help save you time and energy no matter what you’re making.
There are two types of blender – a jug style or handheld version. Both types can liquefy ingredients, crush pieces of ice, or blend harder items like nuts into butters. You can even make your own flour by grinding up grains – perfect if a recipe needs an obscure flour that you don’t have. Prices have come down in recent years, with appliances costing much less than they did a few years ago.
This 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 to 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 encased by a protective guard. This allows you to reach food in the edges 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 recipes, 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 perfectly, smooth sauces and drinks.
You’ll also find heating options with some high-end models. These generally use friction heat, created by the fast-spinning blades.
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 up to 11. Other models have variable speed options which are controlled by turning the dial, giving you precise control over the power. Some brands offer built-in sensors that adjust the speed to the task at hand.
Blenders have an on/off button, and the speed is usually controlled by a dial.
Prices vary depending on the brand, power of the motor, and capacity. Jug blenders are more expensive as they have more powerful blades, motors and speed options. This means that they can deal with a wider range of food. The material and jug size also affect the price, with larger capacity glass jugs being more expensive.
A standard low to middle range blender can cost from £16 up to £150, while top-end models can reach over £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 £10 to £200. The higher-end versions come with a range of accessories, which 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, butcan be tricky 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 you should double check as they can get scratched or turn cloudy after a few washes. Hand blenders are much easier to wash with a quick rinse and sponge, or 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 is often 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, they’re likely to smash too.
Plastic versions are hardwearing, shatterproof, 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.