Kitchen blenders are essential for making smoothies, milkshakes, and any other smooth puréed dish. While they can look and sound intimidating, it’s very easy to get started using a blender. Here are all the basics that you’ll need to know on how to use a blender.
Setting up Your Blender
Before you get started blending, you must familiarise yourself with your blender and make sure that it is set up correctly for use.
- Before you begin, put your blender on an even, stable surface out of the reach of children. Your machine could start to move about at high speed, so make sure there is enough space. Please don’t set it up on a narrow ledge or fold away table as it could fall off.
- Check the power cord and the plug for any signs of damage before plugging it in. This will ensure your new blender is safe for use.
- Check that your blender jug is clean and in good condition, then attach it to the base.
- Make sure that you have the correct lid and that it is also clean and free from any cracks to prevent any messy surprises once you switch it on.
How to Load a Blender
It is generally okay that you load your blender as you please. But, we’re going to share a couple of tips with you on the proper way to do it to get the best results.
- High-moisture, very soft food products should go in first. These include liquids, although in most cases, you can always pour those in later, and they will work their way down. Putting your soft, wet ingredients in first will ensure that you get a better blend.
- It’s better to add hard and dry ingredients above the softer ones. So, add ice, nuts, and vegetables on top of your fruits, ice cream, or juice. With the harder and often heavier items up top, they will press down on the lighter ingredients below for a more even blend.
- Chop up your ingredients into bite-sized chunks before placing them inside your blender. This is particularly important for large, round items such as apples which may otherwise fail to blend smoothly.
- Balance the levels of frozen foods and ice with liquids. Too much ice can lead to air pockets forming around the blades. If your blend is too cold, try adding some more liquid.
- Don’t fill up your blender jug right to the top. Make sure that you leave the top third free for expansion. Otherwise, you could be in for a rather large mess.
How to Use a Blender
With your blender all loaded up and ready to go, follow our step-by-step guide on how to get started with your blender.
- Check the lid – before you hit start, check and double-check that the lid is securely in place. You don’t want to find out the hard way that you didn’t have your lid fixed on correctly.
- Start slow – once you are sure your lid is secure, start processing at the slowest speed. Then increase the speed as necessary to get a smoothly blended mixture.
- Stop to stir – if you get an air bubble, or your mixture stops circulating. When the blender has completely stopped, remove the lid and use a spoon to stir; try to reach down to the blades to move around any stubborn obstructions. Replace the lid and restart your blender.
- Add extra liquids slowly – if you need extra liquid, make sure that you add it in gradually. This will allow you to gauge how much you need and create a much smoother blend. If you are adding liquids as you blend, make sure that you have a kitchen towel to hand to cover the lid opening in between pouring.
- Stay next to your blender – just in case of overheating or the lid working loose. If your machine starts to get warm, switch it off and unplug at the wall. Electrical Safety First recommends immediately switching off your blender and contacting the manufacturer or retailer should you smell burning or notice any unusual noises.
What Can You Make in a Blender?
Blenders are extremely useful kitchen appliances and can help you to create a diverse range of culinary creations. Here are some of the most popular food and drink items that people typically make using a blender.
Smoothies are a great way to get more fruit and vegetables into your diet. You can add fruit juice, milk, yoghurt, or even ice cream. While shop-bought smoothies have been getting an increasingly bad name for themselves regarding sugar and calories, when you make your smoothie at home, you’re in complete control.
A basic milkshake contains milk, ice cream, and syrup for flavouring. You can also add in a couple of extra ingredients and experiment with different taste combinations. Just make sure that you don’t add ice to your blender when mixing a milkshake, as it will melt and water it down. Instead, slowly add more milk and continue to blend if your milkshake is too thick.
From frozen Margaritas to creamy Brandy Alexanders, cocktails are an excellent way to put your blender to good use. You can also use it to blend non-alcoholic cocktails and make smooth fruit coulis to add to your shaken or stirred cocktails. Whether it’s an ice-crushed mixture or a frothy concoction, blending can improve your at-home cocktails.
Salsa, guacamole, hummus or whether you need a dip for your hors d’oeuvres or accompany your main meal, making up your own is fast and easy with a blender. Rather than relying on bland versions from the supermarket, make your fresh dips in next to no time.
Sauces and Soups
From creamy tomato soup to homemade apple sauce, use a blender to create a whole range of smooth, thick soup and sauces, much better than anything you’ll buy in a tin or a jar. In addition, there are hundreds of helpful recipes you can download to mix all types of traditional and unusual sauces.
Nut Milk, Butters and Flour
If you love almonds, make sure that you pick up plenty for blending to make your almond butter, flour and milk. Not only is it fun, but you can also save yourself quite a bit of money, and aside from the nuts themselves, you only need a couple of other ingredients.
What You Shouldn’t Put in Your Blender
While blenders are highly versatile and very easy to use, there are certain items that you should never try to blend.
- Hot liquids – heat creates steam, and steam can easily create pressure. Blending hot liquids inside your jug blender can lead to explosions and burns. Use an immersion blender or allow hot liquids to cool down before blending them in your jug blender.
- Bones – meat or fish with the bones intact should not be placed inside your blender as you’ll risk blunting your blade and potentially jamming up your machine, and damaging the motor.
- Dried fruit – add a handful of dried fruit to your smoothie or rum and raisin cocktail after blending. Dried fruits will get extra sticky, and they tend to remain whole and stuck to your blender. Try chopping instead or soaking them in warm water before attempting to process them without any other food.
- Potatoes – due to their high starch content, potatoes don’t take too well to being blended. Rather than fluffy mash, you’re much likely to end up with a gloop-like inedible paste.
- High fibre food – broccoli and celery tend to end up with an inedible stringy texture when blended.
- Strong smelling foods – while you can use your blender for garlic, chilli peppers and ginger, give a thought to how your breakfast smoothie will taste the following day when you’re struggling to get rid of those lingering odours and spicy after taste. Consider purchasing two blenders if you regularly end up using your machine for both sweet and spicy recipes.
Cleaning Your Blender After Use
Today’s cleaning tip is for the blender! Fill your blender with warm water and a drop of dish soap. Turn it on and let it go for a for a few seconds. Then rinse it out with warm water and you’re all set!#cleaning #hack #tip #kitchen #lifehack #cleaningtip #clean #blender pic.twitter.com/TJsSBYkRlE
— Dean Miller (@thecleaningdean) February 9, 2021
Once you’ve transferred your blended ingredients to a glass or dish, you’ll want to give your blender a quick clean-up. First, you should know how to clean your blender properly.
If you’re about to eat or drink, you can save yourself time and make cleaning up much easier later on by quickly rinsing out your blender jug and leaving it to soak.
Always remove your blender jug from the base before cleaning and unplug the base at the wall. As the base is electrical, it is not safe to be immersed in water – you would risk an electrical shock. Instead, run hot soapy water into your blender jug and use a long-handled washing-up brush to clean any stuck-on residue. If you cannot remove the blades from your blender jug, take extra care when cleaning that you don’t slice your fingers.
If your blender base has got a little dirty, wipe it over with a warm, damp cloth. Then, with all of its components clean, leave the wet jug out to dry air upside down before storing it with your base.
Alternatively, if your blender jug and blades are dishwasher-safe, wipe over the base before putting it away and put your blender jug in with your next load. As with any cutting blade, we recommend removing your blender blades at the end of the wash cycle and wiping them dry.
Different Types of Blender
There are many different blender styles, with some manufacturers even creating hybrid models that juice, cook and tackle unchopped vegetables. However, here are the three main normal blender types that you’ll most commonly find.
Also known as stick or immersion blenders, these compact, thin versions are designed to be used in saucepans or bowls. As they need to have their blending head completely covered, hence the name immersion blender, you may want to transfer small quantities to the narrow blending cup that is usually included with these blenders. Otherwise, you risk splattering your entire kitchen.
Some new models are cordless, giving you greater freedom, although battery life is not that great. Unfortunately, even traditional corded handheld models are not that powerful, so you’ll need to switch to a larger blender if you are looking to process hard, raw food items or nuts.
Single Serve Blender
Single-serve blenders are designed in two halves, a little more like a traditional jug version, except that the top is normally an inverted cup. When you’re done blending, you turn the appliance upside down, remove the cup and drink your smoothie or milkshake out of it – ideal for quick breakfast drinks before you head out the door.
Good for quick drinks, simple purées, and rapidly blending small quantities of not too hard food items, a single-serve blender won’t be as powerful as a larger jug model, and you may struggle to crush harder solid foodstuffs.
Jug blenders are much more powerful, thanks to their larger motor. They are suitable for blending large quantities, with some models having jugs that can contain up to two litres. If you are looking to make nutritious drinks for the whole family or large quantities of dips and purées, a jug blender makes the best choice.
As they tend to be more powerful, jug models can normally be used for crushing ice. While they take up quite a bit of space, they are pretty much a kitchen essential and allow you to blend more types of ingredients in larger quantities than other blender types.
Blend It Up
Blending can be a fantastic way to vary your diet and include more fruit and vegetables. Aside from being great for healthier eating, it is also useful for making homemade soups, purées and dips, milkshakes, smoothies, and cocktails. Fortunately, knowing how to use a blender is very easy, and with a couple of simple recipes, you’ll soon be on your way to blitzing up your creations.