Monday, December 21, 2009

Vita-Mix Blender Review

Vita-Mix 5200
I've longed for a Vita-Mix blender ever since I saw them being used on various competitive cooking shows, such as Top Chef and Iron Chef, so I jumped when I was offered the chance to review one. Frankly I was curious to see if I could make velvety soups and sauces like the ones I've had at restaurants but sometimes found difficult to recreate at home. I'm happy to say, the Vita-Mix gave me excellent results. I put it to the test making potato soup, butternut squash soup and mole sauce. I have also made countless smoothies with very good results. You can get creamy textures using a blender but not the super smooth luscious creaminess you will achieve using the Vita-Mix.

At first I thought perhaps the larger size of the jar would make it difficult to blend small quantities but I didn't find that to be true at all. The base of the jar is larger, but the blades are flatter, and don't stick up quite so vertically as they do in a conventional blender. I have had very good results making small batches of things like pesto, peanut butter and even whipped cream. In addition to peanut butter, whipped cream and butter you can also make all kinds of tapenades and pastes in the Vita-Mix.

Because the blades heat up after a few minutes, you can also make things like ready-to-eat soups and sauces in the Vita-Mix, if you like. Personally I still prefer to cook using the stove, but it is a fun thing to try and could come in handy now and then.

Do I love the Vita-Mix blender? Yes! Do I use regularly? Yes, I do! Is it better than my old Osterizer blender? Yes! There is no comparison.

Power--First and foremost this is an incredibly powerful machine that doesn't just puree but actually pulverizes. The speed tops out at 240 mph. Little seeds in fruit are blasted into practically dust. No more gritty strawberry smoothies!

Light jar--The BPA-free plastic jar is large yet easy to lift because it is not made of glass. The jar is also is very easy to wash and keep clean.

Size--It's taller but not that much wider than a regular blender. l leave mine out on the counter.

Tamper--The Vita-Mix comes with a tamper to help push stuff down in the jar while you are blending. I hate stopping and scraping and with the Vita-Mix you stop and scrape a lot less.

Design--The sleek design and lack of buttons makes it easy to clean.

Texture--You can get great thick textures from this machine. The included recipes for "ice cream" are really combinations of frozen fruit and milk, but they blend to a very dense consistency when you blend them in the Vita-Mix.

Smoothies--Not only can you make fruit smoothies but you can also make vegetable or green smoothies. Also when you add ice to a regular blender you get a chunky texture, not so with the Vita-Mix. Crushed ice becomes very fine and silky.

Raw--Want to try making raw recipes like vegetable hummus, raw nut cheeses, creams and milk? The Vita-Mix allows you to get the texture you'll want for these types of recipes.

Quiet--You might think it would be noisy, but it's surprisingly quiet.


Grinding--The 5200 model is not intended be used for grinding grains. There is a separate container and blades for this, but wouldn't it be great if you could do it all in one? If you do try grinding grains you are warned that you may mar the appearance of the jar.

One appliance that replaces many--After using the Vita-Mix for a couple of months, I have to say, it doesn't take the place of my Cuisinart food processor. I prefer the food processor for shredding, and for making pie crust and pasta dough. It does chop vegetables more evenly than the food processor, but I generally don't use either appliance for that task.

Ice cream--Countless videos and recipes say you can make ice cream with the Vita-Mix. You cannot. You can make a very thick and creamy dessert with fruit, milk and ice. But really, that is not the same as ice cream!

Cookbook--The cookbook that comes with the Vita-Mix is fine for learning the basics, but it's not very inspirational. I recommend checking out recipes from professional chefs and bartenders.

Cost--I love high quality appliances, but they do come with a hefty price tag. Is it worth $449? That's a tough call, however it does come with a full 7-year warranty and you can return it within 30 days for a full refund if you decide you don't want it. I think those who will get the most use out of the Vita-Mix are people who either make a lot of smoothies or are interested in experimenting with raw food.

Note: I was sent the Vita-Mix 5200 to review by the manufacturer