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Monday, November 16, 2009

Blender Woes

When Ethan and I got engaged 9 years ago we ran around Target with a gun - scanning things to put on our registry. The way we scanned was the way I would have shopped, getting the most economical option available. One of these things scanned was a Hamilton Beach blender. And for 8 1/2 years of our marriage, it has blended well on a low demand basis.

Recently, however, I have been a little more demanding on our blender. This fall I have been blending up sugar pie pumpkins that Caleb grew and apples that my parents blessed us with from their place. We don't have all of either done, but we have a decent amount of pumpkin and a good start of apples. While working on these, I noticed that my blender was not too happy with me for asking a little more of it.

Last night I was working on apples again, and my blender finally had enough. I no longer have a working blender . . . or even a blender that will pretend to work.

Since I already had apples cooked down and ready to blend, I finished the night by just canning apple slices. (If you notice, I like to leave the skins on. You can't tell when they are blended up, and it adds in nutrients and also a pretty color.) I'll use these apple slices in our oatmeal, but I still would like to make some more apple sauce.

So now I am thinking about blenders. I really haven't looked at them much since the day 9 years ago when we walked around Target, giddy with our little scanner gun.

What do you think? Do any of you have any suggestions for a blender that can put up with a farm wife who hopes to fill the pantry with fall produce? I'd love to hear your suggestions!


bookflutterby said...

I just use a hand blender- it's like a long stick you hold with the blender part on the end. You can put it right in the pot of apples and blend, blend, blend... and there you go- a pot of applesauce. Less dishes too, and you can get one for a pretty good price.

McKrola Family said...

My blender is part of our Bosche mixer. It truly is awesome. I have had it since 1993.

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

bookflutterby- Is the hand blender quick or does it take a bit more time than a regular blender? I like the less dishes part!

McKrola Family- Ahhh . . . a Bosche mixer . . . That is one of the things I would LOVE to have someday if the opportunity ever arose. I have friends who have them too and absolutely love them. :)

QuiltedSimple said...

I'd have to say a Kitchen Aid mixer - my Hamilton Beach mixer died after 13 years (got it as a wedding present) and we found a used Kitchen Aid on ebay - worth every penny and then some. I can do a double batch of bread dough or cookie dough and it won't quit. Pricey, yes but oh so worth it.

C-re said...

Ok, I will second the KitchenAid. I got one on deep discount last year from Amazon and I LOVE that thing. LOVE IT. I use it for everything. Every single week. Since I found such a great deal, I got the 6qt Professional one and I make refrigerator dough all the time double batched (so enough for 5 loaves) and have no problems whatsoever. We have since bought a meat grinder attachment for it and use it for Hunter's venison. We've processed 5 deer ourselves this year already which saved us $300 in processor fees! Watch Amazon over the next few weeks, they'll put them on sale. Mine was regularly $369, I got it for $219 with free shipping AND got a $50 gift card (which I used to pay it off the credit card). Best deal ev-er.

Do you have a food processor? If not, I highly recommend getting one of those over a blender. So much more powerful and they typically come with a slicer, shredder and other paddles too. Someone gave me one 4 years ago when I was making babyfood (using a blender, she felt sorry for me!). It was her old one and it's a CuisinArt (not sure of the spelling but expensive). I will never shred anything by hand again! When that one dies, I'll get another.

I used to always go with the cheapest and easiest to get and in becoming more and more prone to doing our own food and cooking from scratch, you just need to invest in good quality stuff sometimes. It seems crazy but you'll spend less in the long run and it will lower your kitchen frustrations. It did mine.

I'm patiently saving for a pressure canner. I want all metal with a metal seal instead of rubber...patiently waiting...and a decent kitchen knife!

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Quilted Simple and C-re-
I actually do have a Kitchen Aid right now. I love it, and agree that it is wonderful for mixing up large batches of things. How do you do blending with it though? Is there an attachment that slices and dices? I might have to do some searches now . . .

C-re said...

There's this "kit" that offers you several options.

It's a slicer, grinder and pasta maker. I don't have the slicer or pasta maker, just the grinder attachment that I bought for $60 off Amazon.

There's also this:

Never used it but looks like it might work too.

For apples and such, after you cook them, they're typically so soft that a higher speed with the wisk should work. But, the skins might be an issue...

Since you've got a mixer, maybe a good food processor is better? Depends on functionality and how much you want to get out of your mixer I guess. And if the above items work good!

Here's a link to some comments on amazon's website about the strainer. (Better price too).

I might have to get me one of these! I need to do applesauce again myself.

Nicci said...

KITCHENAID - KITCHENAID - KITCHENAID!!!!!! They are the BEST. I have the mixer I use on a bi/tri weekly basis for double batch bread dough (very hard on a mixer) and I use the blender a lot too! Our mixer is what I use for applesauce - it makes it the PERFECT consistency (use the vegtable/fruit strainer/grinder attachement which is perfect for tomato sauce too!). The blender makes it a bit runny for my liking. But the blender is PERFECT for baby food batches and smoothes and margaritas ;)! I think you can find one for under $100 and they are worth it! Christmas gift? And about the cleaning (for the blender) - I usually just fill it 1/2 full with hot water and a little dish soap and blend it, rinse it and dry it in the dry rack upside down! Easy as pie! I am telling you they are the best!

Heaven Scent Farms said...

I would get a Vita mix. It is the most awesome blender. Actually blender is not exactly the right word for it. It is a food machine. It will even grind grain for you and kneed dough. This is not a cheep machine but it is like the quality of a Kitchen aid. Well worth the money in my opinion. Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

I use a Squeezo to do applesauce. Non-electric and I purchased in 1971 and it still works.

I also use it for tomato juice. Its great because you do not have to peal or cook the tomatoes. Just wash, cut into chunks and run thru the Squeezo and out come ready to can tomato juice.

I do not have the berry or pumpkin screens but they are available.


Grandma said...

I have both the kitchen aid and the Back to Basics 220 Food Strainer & Sauce Maker, I find myself using the hand powered Back to Basics strainer more often than the kitchen aid, plus it doesn't put extra wear and tear on the motor of the Kitchen Aid as a lot of the attachments do. It's also nice to have a manual operating backup unit, I can sit on the porch or anywhere and strain away.

sugarcreekfarm said...

I love my food processor! I do tomatoe puree, pumpkin, pesto...lots and lots of things for freezing and canning. I had a Hamilton Beach one that I wore out. Now I have a KitchenAid and I love it! Bought it at Target a few years ago, don't remember it being super expensive.

Erin said...

Coming out of lurk mode to say:

If you can afford a vitamix, get a vitamix. You will never ever regret it.

However if you can't I think Kitchen Aid makes a good blender, as does Breville.

Sarah said...

I have an Oster blender with a sturdy glass pitcher and it works great. I put it through it's paces making smoothies with lots of frozen berries and frozen spinach, use it to make mayonnaise and everything else you'd use a blender for.

I have a stick blender that I love, it's a Cuisinart, and it's great but it is not the workhorse that a blender or food processor is. I also have a Cuisinart food processor and use it all the time, but it sounds like you need a blender.

My mom has a Vitamix that she LOVES. Costco sometimes sells them this time of year for a rebate from what you could find retail, because they are expensive, but they are an amazing machine. They'd do anything that you'd need to do.

But, if you're looking for a blender that works well and you can probably find at Target, I love my Oster.

Good luck!


McKrola Family said...

Target, on black friday, is going to have 3 dollar small appliances.. You could probably find a couple blenders there to try out. :-)

Jamie said...

For applesauce and apple butter, I just use my old fashioned Foley mill! Works great and you can find them on yard sales and flea markets for very cheap.

Darin and Leslie said...

I use a vitamix on our farm, for just about everything. I make, applesauce, tomato sauce, crepes, bread mixes. I grind my coffee and make rice flour in ours. I use it not less than 2-3 times a day. We have had ours for over 4 years without a single trouble.

We got ours at costco. They usually have it 2 times a year on specials with demonstrations and whatnot. Well worth the extra money. I think I got it for $350. Pricey but I think it will last me a lifetime. That was with a dry good blender and the wet mix blender.

Mary said...

Oster Fusion. We love it! We had a Krups before was not worth the money.

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Wow! Thanks for all of the GREAT suggestions so far! No, I don't have a food processor. I might be able to borrow my mom's old one to finish this fall's canning. Maybe that will help me figure out what would work for my needs. I have looked at many of the suggestions given, and am now going to keep my eye open for one of them that's used. Until then, I'll keep using my kitchen aid mixer and hopefully my mom's food processor. Also, I was blessed with a juicer that I might give a try. Thanks again for the great suggestions!

~*~ Jennifer ~*~ said...

I did the same thing when registering... not realizing that some folks have a lot of money that they LIKE to spend on others. I should have remembered that I may have been robbing someone of the blessing of giving us the very best of something.

I hope you got the blender you need. I like my Bosch blender that is attached to my mixer.

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