Friday, July 15, 2011

Blender on Steroids

Since we got home from Kauai, we have been amusing ourselves with the Vitamix 5200, which had barely gotten out of the box before we left. I hoped we wouldn’t decide we had been taken in by all the hype.

My first realization was that it was too tall to fit on the counter under the cabinets. It takes a big base to store a 2-HP engine. It took a little rearranging to make space on the countertop.

I almost grimaced when I remembered the salesgirl’s advice when I bought it at Whole Foods. She told me to watch the DVD it comes with -- repeating it 3 times. So we sat down to watch and it was more hype. But when the actual food part began, it started to look as good as it had in the store. After about 10 minutes, we were ready to try it out.

Our first creation was a vegetable drink -- sort of like V-8 juice but with our own choice of ingredients. We threw in a tomato cut in half, a hunk of cucumber with the peel still on, a carrot (also unpeeled), some spinach leaves, half an apple, a small piece of onion, some Worcestershire sauce, and some ice cubes.

We made sure the lid was secure, not wanting to decorate the kitchen with all those vegetables. Then we gradually increased the speed to 10 and let her rip. It sounds sort of like a speeding Porsche. But after about a minute of so, we had creamy, cold juice with not a sign of a seed, a peel, or a lump of any kind. Although the color was not so appetizing, the taste was amazing. The best part was the fact that we could drink all that fiber instead of throwing it out like you do with an extractor.

We have moved on to smoothies, where anything goes as to what goes in. We take out big seeds, but everything else goes in and gets ground up.

My next big thing to explore is making bread starting from whole grains, like wheat berries and rye seeds. The Vitamix supposedly can grind the grains and mix and knead the dough in a matter of minutes. As much as I like the feel of bread dough, there is a certain appeal to letting a machine do the work.

I am now thinking this new appliance could not only replace our $39 blender, but also the Cuisinart, the coffee grinder, the bread machine, and probably something else I haven’t thought of yet.

And did I mention how easy it is to clean? None of the mess I used to deal with when I used the juice extractor. So far the Vitamix is earning its place on the countertop.


Blogger Cyndy said...

That sounds fantastic. Think how easy it will be to make gazpacho and other soups. And gravy and sauces and probably even dog food! I want one.

11:34 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Cyndy -- What I found most amazing was the idea that you can make hot soup in the Vitamix because the motor creates so much heat. I'm not sure I would want to, but that might mean I could give up a couple of burners on my cooktop! ):

11:38 PM  
Blogger Steve Reed said...

I'm glad it's living up to the hype. Are your cucumbers from the supermarket, though? If so, it seems you might be getting a healthy dose of food wax by leaving them unpeeled. If they're from your produce box they're probably OK, I suppose.

1:15 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I want one, too! It sounds so great, Barbara.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Steve -- My cucumber was from the CSA so it was totally natural and safe to eat even the skin. But that's a good point and something to think about in the future.

9:59 AM  
Blogger e said...

I wonder if this thing does the same thing as the juicers I've looked at?
Is it easy to clean?

7:41 PM  

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