Guest post by Virginia of GeorgeTown, MN
It’s no secret, I love my Vitamix. I got it for Christmas last year, and I joke that it’s to make up for the last eight years of birthdays, Mother’s Day, and Christmas gifts. While my husband is kind and generous, he’s also practical and he couldn’t figure out why in the world anyone would need a $300 blender.
Playing on his practical side, I explained that he wouldn’t hesitate to spend $300 on a table saw or ladder rack. I take care of our home, I cook all the meals, I deserve a quality tool to make that job more efficient. It took some time, but he bit.
Meet the Contenders
The question, however, is “Is it worth the extra expense? What can it do that my regular blender can’t?” Today I decided to put that to the test. I made a quick, simple raw soup in both my Vitamix 5200 and my sturdy KitchenAid that served me well for eight years.
But who actually makes soup in blenders? Well, people with high speed blenders do! I thought it would be a decent way to measure the performance of both blenders, side by side. We make smoothies almost daily and I use it as a way to get things into my kids that might otherwise be difficult. I put powdered greens, coconut oil, and sometimes flaxseed oil and diatomaceous earth into their smoothies.
On to the experiment!
Raw Tomato Basil Soup
Ingredients for each test:
- half an onion
- 1 cup milk or bone broth
- 2 Roma tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 basil leaf
- 1/2 tsp Real Salt
One of the cool things about a Vitamix is that it can chop vegetables for you. I appreciate this feature and used it a lot last winter for quick soups. I wondered if a regular blender could do that, too. For this test I used half an onion in each blender. In the Vitamix I cut the onion half in half again (so 1/4 of an onion) and dropped it into the blender with the variable speed set to 5. For the KitchenAid I set it to “liquefy” which is the fastest setting, and then cut the half into fourths (so each piece was 1/8 of the onion) and dropped the pieces in.
At first I thought the KitchenAid was doing an alright job of chopping the onions, but you can see the pieces are fairly large. I then added 1 cup milk, 2 halved Roma tomatoes, 1 basil leaf, 1 clove of garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, and the chopped onion to each blender.
I blended them both on high for one minute and poured the contents into mason jars.
The Vitamix soup was warmer than the KitchenAid (you can actually warm soups to hot with the blender), and it was very clearly much smoother. You can see there’s more color throughout the soup.
I actually thought the KitchenAid did a really good job of chopping everything until I started to pour it into the jar. It did chop the onion more finely than before, and the tomato is definitely in small pieces. My husband tried both soups and kind of liked the texture of the KitchenAid soup.
I thought the flavor of the Vitamix soup was more uniform (probably because it was more blended!), but I was surprised at how well the KitchenAid soup worked out. I do like a few chunks in my soup, just maybe not so many.
Is a High Speed Blender Worth It?
A high speed blender is an investment, but as I said I use mine almost daily. Because of its power I can blend whole frozen fruit for our smoothies, buying fruit on sale or in season to save money. I can buy a 40-pound case of bananas at my local discount food store and peel and freeze them. I do the same with strawberries or blueberries–I buy a flat of them when they’re cheap.
Another consideration is the replacement of inexpensive blenders. A friend of mine said she has to replace her blender every couple of years. If this is the case, over the course of a few years she spends an equal amount on blenders as on one high speed blender, which comes with a warranty.
What If I Can’t Afford It?
Sometimes you can find a high speed blender used on Craigslist or on Ebay, but be cautious. I saw several of them priced awfully close to the price of a refurbished Vitamix, which comes with a brand new pitcher and a warranty. So know what you’re doing before looking to purchase one secondhand. The truth is, they aren’t sold often because people use them.
Your other option is to use your current blender to its fullest capability. No, you aren’t going to be able to make peanut butter, but there are ways to get similar results on other things. Instead of freezing whole bananas you can slice them and freeze them on a cookie sheet so they’ll be easier for the blender to tackle. Chop your onion before putting it into the blender for your soup or sauce. Figure out what your blender can handle, and adapt your style of cooking accordingly.
Blenders are great tools for making smoothies, soups, and sauces. I’ve sure enjoyed learning how to use mine more!