December 18, 2014

Considering Vita-Mix

I’ve always thought of Vita-Mix blenders as a health food, hippy blender, one that has been replaced by juicers. Nevertheless, in the back of my mind I can ‘t help wondering if it is the answer to my ice crushing, smoothie making needs.   seems to feel the same way, but she finally gave in and purchased one.

At some point in my distant past, I had acquired a Vita-Mix, lured by devotees who swore by it. It could grind grain! Make soup! Make ice cream! It could grind the fiber, stems, seeds and skins of vegetables to a puree, unlike a blender, a processor or most juicers. You waste less, since the machine lets you use whole foods.

Reader, I never removed my Vita-Mix from the box, so intimidated was I by the large, powerful machine. My cat is fond of the original packing box as a scratching post.

Then Vita-Mix, a family-owned company in suburban Cleveland, sent me notice that they had a new version, the 5200 model, with a shatterproof container that is BPA-free and a more efficient motor. (BPA is the substance that leaches out of common household plastic containers and may be harmful.) The improved model came in red, a color I can’t resist when it comes to kitchen appliances or shoes.

Vita-Mix sent a pro, Wendy Manfredi, to put the monster through its paces. First, she dumped some ordinary brown rice into the Vita-Mix container and in a couple of minutes, voila! We had fine, evenly ground rice flour. You could use the flour to make rice noodles, if you felt ambitious, or you could use it to bread foods, or just as a soup thickener.

The machine operates at a velocity so fast it can create heat, and it sounded like an airplane taking off. At first, I backed across the kitchen. Then, I got used to it.

Next, Manfredi made tortilla soup. We didn’t even peel the carrot that went into it. No seeding the tomato, either. She made a smoothie, strawberry stems and all.

For ice cream, she tossed frozen peaches, soy milk and a little honey into the container. When the mixture forms mounds, she cautioned, it is done; blending too long will cause melting.
 

The Vita-Mix comes with a 64 ounce container which has its pros and cons- it holds almost all you could want to make, but is so large it is difficult to store.  A smaller 32 ounce jar is available for purchase separately.  Vita-Mix is not sold in stores but can be purchased online at vitamix.com. The 5200 model begins at $449.