The more you shop, the more products you find that seem to do similar jobs. While it’s true that not all kitchen tools are created equal, there are some that are certainly interchangeable. Does a hand blender work like a normal blender. Do you need both? I’ve been cooking since I could reach a stovetop to burn my fingers, and I’ve learned a whole lot about pinch hitting in the kitchen. The ultimate test of anything that calls itself ‘blender’ is always the smoothie.
Can you use a hand blender to make smoothies? You can and should use a hand blender to make single serving smoothies. Like a full size blender, a handheld is fantastic for your favorite healthy drinks. Plus, the smaller blades are perfect for a single serving.
Using a hand blender to make smoothies is fun and tasty. However, there are some things you need to know before you go crazy with this helpful tool. Knowing the limits and benefits of a hand blender will allow you to cook, and blend better.
Although there was once a huge difference between the portable handheld blenders and their powerful counterparts. These days you can find some mighty kitchen tools that aren’t very big. Less weight and more portability make a hand blender versatile and useful.
Ultimately, you get what you pay for, so don’t get the dollar bargain bin version for making smoothies. Furthermore, you may want to keep the louder, more powerful countertop blender around for a while, especially if you make large batch smoothies or margaritas regularly.
Power & Ice
First, there are limits to the power in a hand blender. The torque is less than a full-sized stand blender. That means it doesn’t have the same level of power turning the blades. Fortunately, you can buy upgraded hand blenders with more power just like most tools.
Although there are some hand blenders that can’t handle crushing big chunks of ice, there are some simple solutions. You can opt to pre-crush your ice so it’s easier to handle. I used to use a plastic bag and a hammer. Smaller chunks are usually fine for a hand blender.
Likewise, you can add more liquid to help blend the ice in. However, you need to keep the size of your blades in mind. Anything too small to fit between them likely won’t get crushed or pureed properly.
Instead of doing the extra work I prefer to use a top of the line hand blender like the Braun MQ5025 Multiquick Vario. The bell-shaped tip prevents splashing, and it crushes ice in my smoothies beautifully. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how powerful this tool is. To check the reviews yourself, click here.
Cook & Cut
When you use a stand blender, you cut up fruits and vegetables to make them fit. This helps them fall down and touch the blades. Similarly, you need to cut your pieces if you’re using a hand blender.
When you plan to make a smoothie in a small container like a mason jar, you’ll want to cut smaller pieces. I find a small spatula, (the scraping kind, not the flipping kind) is indispensable for hand blender use.
Alternately, if you cook something down, like fruit for jams and jellies, or tomatoes for pasta sauce, it’s easy to puree them. You can easily make a large batch with a hand blender.
You should always use smooth bottomed containers with your hand blender to avoid missing pieces. Use a bowl or pan with a sloped or curved side instead of one with a sharp corner to avoid ‘bits’ getting into hard to reach areas.
Before you run out (or login) to buy a new hand blender to make smoothies, read carefully. There are so many kitchen tools these days, and some of them have similar names. Make sure you buy the tool you need.
A hand blender is also known as an immersion blender. It’s called that because you ‘immerse’ the bladed tip into your smoothies or sauces to make food. Likewise, you may also see them called stick blenders.
If you are looking for a new hand blender for your kitchen, which I highly recommend, don’t make the easiest mistake. A ‘hand mixer’ is not a hand blender. Instead, hand-mixers are meant to knead doughs and do the job of a stand mixer.
The quick and simple explanation is this: A Mixer folds things. This includes water and even air. Use it to make a meringue, bread, or cookies. A blender minces and purees. Use it to make sauces, smoothies, and soups.
Choose a great hand blender like the Utalent Immersion Blender from Amazon. I love the color, plus it comes with a two-year warranty. Any company that stands behind its products cares about what they’re making. Moreover, the five BPA free attachments make any blending job quick and simple. You can get a Utalent Immersion Blender here.
Cleaning a Hand Blender
Making smoothies with a regular bender can be a hard to clean the mess, but with an immersion blender, it’s simple. We’ve all been there. Stand blenders require assembly. That means parts that leak and get stuck.
Rather than wrestling with blades and rubber rings, I prefer the simplicity of my stick blender. Unlike the stand blender, I’ve never cut a finger with my handheld. Plus, it’s easier to keep a spoon or spatula away from the blades while it’s running.
Steps to Clean Your Hand Blender
Always wash your hand blender right away after using it. Leaving the food to dry on will make cleaning very difficult. Furthermore, it may shorten the life of the machine.
- First, fill a tall narrow container, like a cup with warm, soapy water. Don’t overfill. You only need enough to submerge the dirty part of your hand blender.
- Next, you need to dunk the blender in the water. Run it for about thirty seconds. This should dislodge all the food particles leaving a glass of dirty water.
- You may need to repeat if the mess is still stuck on.
- Dump the dirty water and fill your cup with clean hot water. Run your immersion blender for about ten seconds to make sure any remaining mess is gone.
- If necessary rinse again.
- Finally, dry your blender carefully by hand with a soft cloth. I prefer microfiber because it doesn’t leave particles and fabric bits on my food-making tools.
When You Can’t Wash Immediately
If you absolutely cannot wash your stick blender right away there are two other options to keep food from sticking to it. First, check to see if your model has a detachable component that’s dishwasher safe. Many models have this option.
Second, you can simply soak it in a cup of water until later. Don’t leave your hand blender in a cup of water overnight. Plus, you’ll want to make sure it’s sitting in such a way that it doesn’t tip the cup.
Storing a Hand Blender
Always make certain that your hand blender is clean, and dry before putting it away. I use a holder on the wall to store mine out of the way while leaving it easy to reach. However, you can put yours in a cabinet if you prefer.
Never set it upright on the blade end. Instead, lay it down sideways. If your immersion blender has a button rather than a switch, make sure it’s not laying on top of it. Similarly, you don’t want to press anything else in the cabinet against the button.
Uses for Hand Blenders
In addition to making outstanding smoothies, there are lots of other uses for a great hand blender. You can make amazing pestos with pine nuts, basil, and olive oil.
It’s important to check your machines’ booklet before blending most nuts. Some immersion blenders aren’t up to the challenge of chopping harder nuts. However, the small, oily pine nut is softer and most machines can handle them easily.
Cream soups, jellies, and applesauce are also quick and simple with a hand blender. It may surprise you to learn that they’re also ideal for making scrambled eggs and whipped creme. I even use mine to make puddings and salsa.
One of the best hand blenders I ever owned was this Mueller Austria Ultra-Stick. In addition to being a fantastic immersion blender, it comes with attachments to do the job of a hand mixer as well. Being able to swap out the head on my Mueller, and go from making a smoothie to mixing cake batter is fantastic. Check prices and availability right here.
Hand blenders are extraordinarily useful for much more than just smoothies. Using a narrower container lets you contain a mess easily. Plus, teaching young people to use a hand blender is a fun way to introduce them to the kitchen.
Smoothies are not that challenging to make, but can food processors be used as blenders in the kitchen environment.
You should be taking advantage of a hand blender more often. Skip the heavy blenders unless you really need a large batch of something. Not only do these clever tools make great soups, sauces, and batters, but they’re ideal for smaller hands.
Easy to clean, easy to use, and fast; What more could you ask from any kitchen tool? Next time you make a smoothie, use a hand blender.