Immerse Yourself in Immersion

Tool Talk ~

Immersion blenders are not new.  I cannot remember when I got my first one, but it was probably in the 80’s.  They were first invented in 1950, but I am pretty sure it was a decade or two later when it became a typical household item.  Braun was one of the first true mass-producers.

Why buy one?  You might ask, “Why have an immersion model in addition to a countertop model?” Here’s why, but if you’re already convinced you want one (or to upgrade the one you have), skip down to the paragraph starting “Points to consider…”

Preparations It’s Perfect For

Soups: Because of the convenience of not having to transfer food-in-process to a separate countertop blender, you will use this at times that you otherwise would have just skipped blending at all. For example, I make my own soup bases with pure chicken broth, diced celery, diced carrot and sometimes diced fennel. In some soups, I don’t want that chunkiness (even diced). * Plus, for bean (i.e. lentil) soup, I add some cooked white rice to this first step. Once those have cooked and melded together, I blend it to make a super-intense stock that is already a bit thicker than traditional stock; after that step, I add whatever else is going on. Additionally, for black bean soup, I throw in about a fourth to a third of the cooked beans at the beginning and puree them, also. *This is discussed more in individual recipes and processes, along with all the other flavors you might add during this step.

Blender in empty pot to display stick’s blade dimensions

Potato soup: I only want most of the potatoes pureed. With an immersion blender, you can pulse, move the stick around and pulse some more or not, based on the texture you’re looking for. Miserable to do such a process with a countertop blender.

Sauces: This usage is best for smoothing a medium-size batch of sauce, not tiny. For example, if you’re making only a cup of Béchamel or cheese sauce, the sauce will probably not be deep enough in the pot for the blades of the immersion blender to reach all of the sauce. On the other hand, for such a small batch, you don’t need the blender… grab a whisk and burn a few calories with it. Then, on the other hand, if you have a larger batch, the blender is an absolutely great way to get rid of any lumps and ensure ultimate smoothness; a whisk will be rather inadequate.

Smoothies and other pureed mixtures: Similar to the sauce comment previously, if you’re making a small batch of hummus, your food processor will be just right. But if you don’t have a food processor, you need a blender. Another option is that the KitchenAid does have available a mini food-processor (see picture below). This means you do have a transfer process to do, but again, we’re talking about options. I can’t visualize everything going on in your kitchen, so I will not dictate what you have to do.

Guacamole: if you’re making a rather large batch, you want something other than fork-mashing. The immersion blender can work well if you don’t have a countertop food processor. Plus, leaving a few small, whole pieces of avocado helps announce that it’s homemade.

Points to consider,

when thinking about cordless versus corded:

Cordless is always going to be more convenient, especially if using in a soup or sauce pot. You can use it while the pot is still on the stove, whether an outlet is nearby or not.  A big deal for me is that a cord has the potential to knock over other hot items, or accidentally rest against a still-hot burner, in addition to being just-plain-clumsy.  My luck was that the only close outlet is on my left, so the cord had to pass across my work space (I’m right-handed) and sometimes I had to turn sideways a bit. Therefore, to avoid disaster, I always had to carry the soup pot to the sink to use the blender.

The cordless immersion blender I use is the <a href=”http://<a target=”_blank” href=”″>Kitchen Aid Cordless Immersion BlenderKitchenAid model shown in these photos. If you purchase through this link, we do earn a small commission.

– New uses: Just because you now perhaps only make smoothies with your blender doesn’t mean you won’t want to use it in soup or some other stove-top application once it is super convenient.

– Charging: If you feel you’ve used the cordless unit enough times that it’s bound to be running out of power soon, just charge it, for gosh sakes !  It doesn’t take long, and/or plug it in before you go to bed after using it a few times.  I’ve so far never had it quit while I was using it. I see this as a minor consideration that is easily resolved. No problem-o.

– Cool accessories: The accessories that came with the KitchenAid combo package I bought are high quality and with excellent design, in my mind.  Look closely at the pic with the accessories, and you’ll see they even made a little plastic cover for the blade in the mini food processor.  Even Cuisinart didn’t do that!

Accessories & attachments. Tall blender jar is shown in picture at top of post.

– Price:  When an appliance is convenient and well designed, you’ll use it a lot.  I dreaded getting out my old corded immersion blender because it was awkward to use. Even to clean it, you had this stupid cord dangling over the side of the sink.  Sorry, I’ve become a total fan of <a href=”http://<a target=”_blank” href=”″>Kitchen Aid Cordless Immersion Blenderthis cordless one so I can’t stop going on about it.  So what if it is $X dollars more.  We’re not talking about hundreds here, maybe $20 to $50, depending on whether you go ahead and spring for the accessories.  Think of that over the next 10 years, and even an extra $50 is like 42 cents per month.

Note: the Amazon sales page also has “corded” blenders, so look carefully if you click on any of the other colors… the description at top may have switched from cordless to corded.

Bottom line, an immersion blender is a great tool, and doesn’t take up much space. The cordless version makes it even possible to take camping or to a tailgate. Frozen margaritas in the great outdoors! All in the spirit of Culineering.

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