Think a blender is just for smoothies? Think again!
My shiny Oster blender is my preferred unit of kitchen gadgetry — Partially because I just love my simple, 2-speed, high-powered blender…and partially because it’s really my only major kitchen gadget beyond a coffee grinder*. We’ve been through a lot together. I don’t even own a toaster [anymore**].
*right before posting this, my mom surprised me with a food processor for my birthday.
Whether its frugality, stubbornness, or my true love of this blender (which I’ve been using for 12+ years), I use it in lots of creative ways to get the job done. Along the way I’ve discovered a few secret blender tricks that, to my knowledge, aren’t super common blender uses. So I’m spilling the beans.
Without further ado, here are the 6 feats of culinary wizardry you can accomplish with a blender:
Make your own Sauces
Go into your pantry and read the ingredients on any sauce label such as curry or tomato sauce. I bed those ingredients (Basil, garlic, tomatoes, celery…) aren’t naturally found in saucy-liquefied form. Next time you’re’ in the mood for something spicy and fragrant, simmer chopped veggies in broth and curry and spices, then toss in the blender! Put it back in the pot to simmer and serve over rice with falafel.
Make your own Condiments
One of my nicknames is the “Condiment Queen.” I’ve earned this moniker fair and square through my love of all things saucy and spicy. When I discovered the blender was the key to making my own condiments, I just couldn’t stop. Hot sauce is a regular favorite, but bagnut, pestos, and salad dressings also come out of my blender fairly frequently. Don’t be afraid to throw a whole bunch of basil, stems and all in there for pesto, it’ll blend it smooth and you waste much less of your herbs.
Cream your eggs when baking
When you’re baking, creaming your eggs in the blender with other wet ingredients is a great way to add air to recipes without making them cakey or dry. There are few things more disappointing than an overly-bready brownie. At the same time, you might not want your brownies to resemble chunks of fudge. If you blend your wet ingredients just enough so that they become slightly opaque and creamy (not stiff), you’ll wind up with light, moist non-cakey brownies.
Use it as a food processor
There’s a caveat to this one. While the blender is great at blending things, it is NOT a food processor. This is where you need to be resourceful and use your creativity: I do not own a food processor, and so my blender must function as one. I often find myself wishing for a food processor when I need to pulverize spent grains (after brewing beer), or when I need to chop a lot of herbs or garlic for a recipe. I found that these ingredients will eventually need to be mixed with a liquid at some point in the recipe, so I just blend them with the liquid first to chop them up, and then use the liquid as directed in the recipe.
Use it as a juicer
This doesn’t work with just anything, but it’s a great substitute if you don’t have the space to store a juicer (or don’t have the patience to clean it!). It works with watery fruits and veggies like apples, cucumbers, peeled oranges, steamed beets, lemons, greens, pineapples, or melons. Chop up the fruit so the blades can pulverize them, and throw a dash of fruit juice or water in to give it a kickstart. Plus there’s the added bonus of not wasting the fiber! If it’s too fibrous, send the juice through a strainer.
You have probably heard of using your blender to make soups. I love making creamy soups in the blender – first sauteing and simmering ingredients like carrots, parsnips, potatoes, lentils, or kohlrabi to bring out their deeper flavors, and then blending them up with a dash of fresh cream or yogurt.