Unlike a standard blender, which contains a glass receptacle for food or liquids, an immersion blender functions more like an electric whisk or mixer. Immersion blenders are designed to be placed inside of the food itself in order to puree or emulsify the substance. Immersion blenders do not require a separate compartment for food, nor do they chop and blend food in the same way as standard blenders. Nonetheless, an immersion blender is a useful kitchen appliance, particularly for cooks that favor soups, sauces and other pureed items.
Design and Function of an Immersion Blender
An immersion blender is oftentimes referred to as a “wand blender” because of its shape. In contrast with a standard electric-powered blender, immersion blenders are handheld and compact. They are shaped like a long wand or stick, and feature a blade or pair of blades at the bottom.
To operate an immersion blender, simply pour your soup, drink or other liquid into a pot or glass of adequate size to accommodate the blender. Next, place the bottom portion of the blender into the food and begin by activating it at the lowest power setting. The blade turns, breaking up pieces or chunks that remain in the liquid. As you increase the power setting on the blender, the blade spins faster and breaks up larger and larger bits of food.
Immersion blenders are not designed to function with ice or other hard foods, even though these foods may blend sufficiently in a standard blender. Rather, immersion blenders are intended for use in liquids only.
Benefits of an Immersion Blender
An immersion blender is an excellent way of simplifying the pureeing process while you are cooking soup. Rather than transferring soup to a food processor in small batches, an immersion blender allows you to leave the full quantity of the soup in the pot and mix it at once.
Immersion blenders are very easy to use. Although it may take a bit of practice to be able to operate an immersion blender without spilling or splattering food, there is very little chance of ruining a dish by using an immersion blender.
Immersion blenders are also quite easy to clean. Most of the parts are detachable and dishwasher safe. The blade can be handwashed or run through a dishwasher along with the remaining wand portion as well.
Cost and Brands of Immersion Blenders
Immersion blenders tend to be cheaper than standard blenders, although they may not be as readily available and may require some searching through department and appliance stores. Some of the most common brands of immersion blenders include:
- Black and Decker
- Kitchen Aid
The cheapest immersion blenders are typically available for about $10 each. However, if you plan on blending thicker soups or drinks with your immersion blender, it may be beneficial to invest in a sturdier model. If in doubt, ask for advice from a cook or appliance salesperson.
Consider purchasing an immersion blender to aid in cooking soups, sauces and other liquids. The cost is minimal, the product is easy to use and the benefits are significant.