Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Do You Really Need a High-Powered Blender at All? {REVIEW part 3 of 3}

December 20th, 2012 · 44 Comments · What to Buy

advantages of high-powered blenders

I keep saying I’ll get to this question and then never do.

It’s a lot like when one of my kids wants my attention and I say, “Just a minute, I’m in the kitchen.” I’m sure they feel like I never get around to coming out of there, either!

To recap, I started exploring the high-powered blender issue with “Is a Blendtec Worth over $500?” and continued with some fun Blendtec vs. Vitamix videos – that post has lots of Vitamix wisdom in the comments, so it’s definitely worth reading if you’re in the market (or own one already).

Today, as promised, I’ll share what happened when I made my first nut butters and also the result of the Blendtec grinding grain next to my Nutrimill grain mill doing its job, as well as a few other foods we made in the Blendtec.

Then, yes, I’ll finally answer the question of WHO might need this expensive machine.

EDIT 6/24/14 –> Now that I’ve had the experience of going back to a regular blender for a few months when I lent out my Blendtec so my mother could make smoothies for my dad while enduring chemo, I’m kind of a fan. I like it. It’s convenient. It’s much faster. But is it worth $400? You still have to make that call, and you might want to look into reviews of lesser blenders that are higher quality than the basic-basic that I have ($100-150 range maybe, many like the Ninja and my mom ended up buying a KitchenAid).

blendtec vs nutrimill grinding flour

Blendtec Does Nut Butters

Homemade nut butter is something I’ve never tried with a normal machine in my possession. I’d read blog posts about it and been curious, but I never thought my dinky blender or food processor could handle it.

A recipe in the Blendtec book caught my eye, so I tried Cocoa-Nut Almond Butter and loved it. Heavenly.

The kids didn’t like it, but I don’t think they really like almond butter.

Once I got over my amazement that the nuts could get so pulverized, I was taken aback by the fact that everything got so HOT! When I opened the Twister jar lid, there was actually some steam rising from the almond butter.

I’m sure I killed most of the enzymes I preserved in the dehydrator making crispy nuts! I wonder if there’s any way to start and stop to lessen the extreme heat, which is really something you want to avoid while exposing the fats in the nuts to oxygen already.

I also made peanut butter, using crispy nuts that I had soaked and dehydrated.

I only tried ½ cup of soaked and dehydrated peanuts in both the food processor and Blendtec’s Twister jar (I didn’t want to get stuck with a ton of homemade peanut butter in case no one would eat it).

The directions for Blendtec said to use level 7 for 40 seconds (for 1 ½ cups) – it took less than 12 seconds in the Twister jar for the peanuts to be completely peanut butter! I was so surprised I didn’t even time how long the food processor took, but it was at least three if not four times longer. Both have decent texture but not great, but no flavor. Do I add salt? What gives?

I’m still kind of upset that you can’t take it apart – I think it’s much harder to get food out of the bottom, especially something thicker like “ice cream” or nut butters. You definitely save a ton of time on the front end making the food though!

How NOT to Make Peanut Butter

I thought I might have found a brilliant time-saving idea to make nut butter with fewer phytates (the nasty little anti-nutrients that soaking is supposed to help reduce).

I have learned that when I make what I call “power bars,” the homemade version of a Larabar with dried fruit and nuts from my Healthy Snacks to Go eBook, I can soak and drain raw  nuts but skip the dehydrating, and they work out just fine. My first peanut butter test was that way, with soaked and drained peanuts that were not dried.

The resulting peanut butter wasn’t the greatest consistency, a little powdery in fact, but if you squashed a bit with your fingers, it would form a paste/ball. After only two hours of soaking, this method did not exactly yield creamy peanut butter. It tasted pretty yucky. I added honey and salt, and it tasted better but still not like peanut butter. The texture was too far off. In the food processor, the powdery texture was even worse.

As if that wasn’t enough to tell me you can’t make “wet” crispy peanut butter, both batches, which I left on the counter at first intending to refrigerate later, became totally moldy after only a week.

Grinding Flour in the Blendtec

whole wheat flour in Blendtec vs Nutrimill (2) (475x356)

One of the reasons I was always excited about a high-powered blender in general was that it can actually grind whole grains into flour, so it ought to be a 2-for-1 deal that would replace a grain mill in the kitchen. Better yet, it can also grind almonds into meal/flour, which is something my Nutrimill cannot do because of the oils in nuts.

Over the years, I had read about both people who regularly made flour in their blender and loved it and those who warned that the high-powered blenders would either (a) heat up the grains so much that it would damage nutrients or (b) take too long to make enough because of the smaller batch requirements compared to an actual mill.

I tested my Nutrimill grain mill against the Blendtec with just a cup of wheat berries – you can put two cups total into the blender and about twenty into the grain mill if you want. The Blendtec certainly seemed to do just as well as the Nutrimill on just one cup. The amount of time to grind was similar and the finished product looks similar, too, as you can see above. I am impressed by that!!

Because we don’t eat much gluten in our house (I did the test while making these simple whole wheat bread machine rolls for a friend to whom I was taking a meal), I just didn’t get to try a side-by-side taste test like I wanted. I had hoped to make two batches of something like pancakes, where it would be easy to feel if there was any difference in the texture in the two machines.

I’m not much of a gluten-free baker – I usually stick with grain-free flours like coconut flour and almond flour – so I also, sadly, never got a chance to try brown rice flour or grinding garbanzo beans, both of which I think the Blendtec could do. Those are big money savers if you grind your own.

I did try buckwheat flour, and the Blendtec does great, making a really fine and powdery final product, but here are the reasons I would still choose a grain mill, at least if we were a wheat-based family:

  • Grain mill + blender + food processor still would be less than the cost of a Blendtec + Twister jar
  • A grain mill doesn’t need to be washed with every use, and I do feel like, most of the time, I need to tackle the Blendtec after flours
  • The Blendtec throws the flour all the way up the sides and into the lid – even inside the outer and inner lid, annoying – so it’s really quite messy.
  • Difficult to scoop the last bit of flour out of the bottom.
  • Still slightly slower than a grain mill for larger amounts of flour – I think if I regularly needed four or more cups of flour, I wouldn’t want to always run the Blendtec twice or more just to achieve that.

Grinding Almond Flour in the Blendtec

almond flour crackers (475x356)

As I said, I was most excited about almond flour, since that can be so expensive to purchase. I used crispy almonds which I had soaked and dehydrated and followed the directions in the book.

Using the Wild Side jar, I was allowed to use up to two cups almonds. I made just over a cup, intending to use the flour in some grain-free crackers that I’d made before with both blanched almond flour and almond “meal.”

It takes almost the first ten seconds of the 30-second cycle to get up to the right level. Once ground, even if you stop it as soon as you can, there’s still some clumping like it’s trying to get toward almond butter.

In a real life application, the whole crispy almonds I used DEFINITELY acted differently in almond crackers than blanched almond flour. The crackers were very fragile and haven’t been all that fun to eat, since they totally fall apart. (They stay together well and are crunchy and delicious with blanched flour.) Blanched almonds have the skins removed, and that’s where the phytates are, so blanched almond flour is already plenty healthy.

The process definitely took some time to accomplish especially scraping all the almond flour out of the container. The difference in price per pound between blanched almond flour and just buying almonds gets fairly small, especially after you spend time and electricity soaking and dehydrating them. That, plus the time it takes to make the flour, plus the addition of phytates (some of which are still present even after soaking and dehydrating) means I’m going to stick with buying blanched almond flour.

What Else Did I Make in the Blendtec?

The machine really has been decently busy, so I absolutely believe the many readers who have chimed in to say that they use (and love) their Blendtec (or Vitamix) every day. Here’s a sample of some other recipes and results:

 

  • Black bean dip from Real Food…Real Easy! in the regular Blendtec jar – total fail. Had to keep scraping, redo-ing. I should have used the Twister jar for this recipe, which is like hummus, except that I don’t think I could fit all 4 cups of black beans in the smaller jar. That would make it a fail from the get-go compared to my rinky-dink food processor, which makes the recipe without trouble.
  • Mincing garlic in the regular Wild Side jar – I had to get all the way to level TEN before any progress was made, but that was so loud I was afraid of it. I gave up. The same thing happened with mincing herbs before making a recipe in the blender. FAIL! A food processor accomplishes both just fine.Would Twister jar do better? Maybe…
    banana ice cream
  • When making strawberry and banana “ice cream” with Twister jar, which is simple and delicious, I was holding John so I couldn’t push “on” AND hold the lid. I thought I could just push the button and then start twisting the lid a second later, but the lid flew off and stuff went everywhere! I couldn’t get the machine off fast enough (remember that whole annoying “no stop button thing” I mentioned?).The consistency of this dessert is awesome though – see photo above of just frozen bananas, blended.
  • While making power bars, the Twister jar did great, and I could just throw all the nuts and dates right in together instead of one at a time. It still took a good amount of time, I’d say about similar to the food processor although I didn’t time it. I had to check inside for whole dates and start again once or twice.On the emptying end, it’s so much easier to get the mixtures out of the food processor, so I still lean toward that as being more efficient in the long run.
  • I accidentally made cocoa powder. !! I didn’t know grinding 99% unsweetened chocolate bars a bit too long would result in cocoa powder! Kind of a waste…I could have just used cocoa powder if that’s what I wanted. (This was for German chocolate power bars, mmmm…)
    dried tomato powder (4) (475x356)
  • A few years ago I dehydrated some tomatoes, intending to make a powder that could be reconstituted into paste or sauce. The instructions never specified a high-powered blender, but both my blender and food processor just made tomato bits and a big mess. I put the same dehydrated tomato rolls into the Blendtec, and it did an excellent job making actual powder (above).

So Who Really DOES Need a High-Powered Blender?

I think there are probably some situations for which a family would (just about) be able to list a high-powered blender as a “need” instead of a “luxury,” including:

  • Folks who make smoothies every day, especially if they have two or more kids and need larger batches (and fast!).
  • People with food allergies who perhaps need to make their own nut blends, etc., for cost effectiveness.
  • People who are grain-free or otherwise might need to grind 9 cups of flaxseed at once, like Adrienne does for this flax bread recipe. I made a batch just today, and I have to admit that the Blendtec made quick work of 2 cups of flaxseed. I tried it once before with just a little bit, and it was a disaster, apparently because it was just a little and the blender kept throwing the seeds around too much. Invest $10 in a coffee grinder if you need to grind a half cup or less of flax at at time; consider a high-powered blender if you grind much more than that.
  • Anyone who loves chia seeds. Unless you want to grind the seeds first in a dedicated coffee grinder, a high-powered blender is the only way to get chia seeds incorporated into a recipe. If you use them often, you’d want the time-saving feature of being able to toss them right in.
  • Raw vegans who appreciate the “warm” blended soups.
  • Preppers who want to dehydrate and powder foods (check out the new dehydrating ecourse if that’s you!). I feel pretty confident in saying that a fancy machine is necessary for this application.
  • Gluten-free families who want to save money by making their own gluten free flours as well as almond flour and maybe bean flours which might not be handled well by a grain mill. If you’re a bread-baking family, I would think it might get tedious grinding wheat in the Blendtec. I’d just go with a grain mill. There are also a number of gluten-free recipes that specifically say you need a high-powered blender.
  • Tubies, meaning people who require all or most of their nutrition to be sent through tubes – total smoothness is really key. This mom describes how her high-powered blender allowed her daughter to eat real food from infancy, even when the doctors just wanted to shoot her up with formula and high-calorie shakes. I’m totally fascinated and honored that she commented!

Since I began posting the reviews on the Blendtec, I’ve had lots of conversation with both Blendtec and Vitamix owners. Many say they love their high-powered blender, use it every day, and even some would put it as number one on their small appliance list.

However, it really does sound like most people who get to try BOTH fall on the same side I did. Lots of people love their Blendtecs, but I bet they’d love a Vitamix more if given the chance. I even had two different readers share their OWN Vitamix vs. Blendtec write-ups, and although both agreed that either machine does amazing things, both also returned their Blendtec and kept the Vitamix.

How about you? Do you think you’ll invest in a high-powered blender?

Trilight Health Gift Certificate Winner

Last week’s Trilight Health giveaway has closed, and the winner of the $75 gift certificate is:

Laura – Lily8783@

Please email me with your contact information, and congrats!

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Disclosure: The Blendtec was a free product sample – sorry, Blendtec company, you see that my opinion is never influenced even by great generosity. If you purchase either machine through my affiliate links, I will earn commission, as well as on eCourses. See my full disclosure statement here.

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44 Comments so far ↓

  • Alaina

    I find this fascinating…I apparently fall on a different side of the camp. I have a cheaper Blendtec than the one you keep writing about, apparently, because I only paid $350 for it from their site…so I don’t think it has to cost as much as you keep saying it does to have a high powered blender, and I think that is a really important note. It makes the Blendtec cheaper than others and I think it still does a great job.

    I have tried VitaMix several times at other homes and I just don’t like it. It could be because I already know the Blendtec, I understand how my machine works, and it does everything I want it to. I call it my workhorse. We use it at least once a day. Before our home burned down I had mine for over 2 years and used it once or twice per day and it was still going strong.

    I really understand that people have different preferences, and that is totally understandable, I just wanted someone to stand up for Blendtec. I love my $350 high powered machine…and I would buy it again in a heartbeat! :)

    Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Alaina,
    That’s wonderful! I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m totally trashing the Blendtec – I really do believe the line I wrote to a reader, that I’m sure people love both machines and they both do incredible things that normal blenders can’t touch. And I only have seen the Vitamix make two recipes, but it beat out the Blendtec on both, so that’s what I based my opinion on. ???

    Thanks for offering a great perspective!
    :) Katie

  • Diane via Facebook

    Just off the top of my head – how else would I chip & shred the yard waste? ;) LOL -

  • Cathy

    We have the Vitamix and love it. Even for simple uses such as a protein shake, the texture is way better than with my former blender (that went with my Bosch Concept Mixer, so a decent one itself). And our Vitamix was only $399, bought this year around Mother’s Day, so also quite a bit under $500.

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Cathy,
    The Blendtec isn’t quite that expensive on its own either, but with the additional jar it tops $500 – from what I understand, the Vitamix with the dry container would also top $500 even if purchased at your price – to be fair comparing apples to apples! ;) Katie

  • Karen

    You mentioned the heat generated once or twice – it’s kind of critical though, isn’t it? Is there not too much heat generated when grinding flour?

    We purchased a Breville (with glass carafe) second-hand a few weeks ago. It makes hummus faster, quieter, and creamier than my food processor, and we are thrilled with the smoothies. It also comes apart for cleaning.
    I sure have appreciated your comments here – I always thought I wanted a Vitamix – but probably won’t get one now, as I wouldn’t be able to replace anything that I already have, and can’t justify the expense.
    Keep up the great work!

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Karen,
    The grain mill heats the flour a bit, if that’s what you mean – but I do think the Blendtec generates a LOT of heat – the Vitamix did too though. I probably just should stop and start it, but then that takes time and makes the Nutrimill win all over again! ;) Katie

  • Christy, The Simple Homemaker

    Blendtec user here! Hooray! We chose it because it was 20% cheaper than the Vitamix. (Stand alone–no extra jar. Apples to apples. :) ) We use it for whole food smoothies, sometimes soups, grinding cloves, flax, oats, etc., making hummus. etc. Enough with the et ceteras already! ;)

    We really, really appreciate its power. We went through quite a few regular blenders and even our Kitchenaid grainmill. This one takes what we throw at it and keeps throwing stuff back at us…especially if we forget to put the lid on. Ha!

    It is very loud. We keep it in a sound box, which is big. I don’t care for that aspect, but at least when (yes, I said WHEN) we forget to put the lid on, the mess is contained within the sound box.

    I have experienced a few of the issues you mentioned, but, to us, issues are just a part of life, so we deal with them. We don’t know any different. Perhaps if we could do a side-by-side to a Vitamix or a grain mill, we might not kiss our Blendtec every morning and tuck it in every night.

    One huge issue–size and sound. I guess that’s two issues. Both are issues for us as we sell our home and head back out on the road full-time for my hubby’s music mission. We want to take that baby with us, but there’s only so much room in a 225-square foot trailer for nine people and a dog, so it’s either take that baby, or our real baby. Still, we’re making it work, because it really helps us get the proper nutrition into everyone on the road. I would like it to be smaller and quiet…but with just as big a jar so it can blast through smoothies for my family. :)

    Thanks for the post. It got me thinking about some of the other things I could do with a Blendtec. I’m certainly not a Blendtec snob. In fact, I would love to do a BT/VM side-by-side dual to the death to be better informed. I bet I could even sell tickets. Blendtec is simply all I know apart from the store blenders that all threw themselves off the nearest counter in despair after about three months of trying to satisfy my family. The BT works well for this family of nine with a Crohnsie who sometimes needs specialized food prep.

    Thanks for the post. It was fun to spend the morning in the kitchen with you. :)

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Christy,
    You are HILarious. You need to take your side-by-side duel on the road! Which would be easy, except that you’d have to leave a few kids behind. 9 people? Really? You are my hero. That’s incredible. I’ll sell tickets for you. ;)
    Will you keep blogging on the road? :) Katie

    Christy, The Simple Homemaker Reply:

    Thanks for selling tickets! Yes, we’ll be keeping three blogs while on the road: The Simple Homemaker, my hubby’s music mission site, and our family travel log. We’re spending this last month in the house streamlining the online work, so it’s easier. I like easier. :)

  • Kathleen

    I just wanted to mention that for nut butters you can just add some whey to the butter, ferment on counter for 7 hours and the phytic acid is taken care of! No need to soak and dehydrate :)

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Kathleen,
    I’ve never heard of that one – but it sounds like it could make sense. Do you have a source? Thanks!! :) Katie

    Kathleen Reply:

    Sorry for delay, traveling :) I learned about it from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting by Wardeh Harmon

  • Pam

    I was fortunate to be gifted with a Vitamix (including the separate dry blade), and we use it multiple times everyday. From your list of people who might need one, we meet five of those qualifiers. :) A high-speed blender definitely isn’t necessary for every kitchen, but we certainly have benefitted from one!

    When I was doing rice flour regularly, I kept rice in the freezer so I could start off cold. By the time I was done grinding, the flour would barely be warm.

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Pam,
    Ah, frozen rice! That’s so smart! :) Katie

  • Erin

    I am curious if anyone has tried the health master? ANd what they think about it. I have one but am not real convinved that it is worth the money. It doesnt seem to be much better than a regular blender any thoughts?

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Erin,
    While it was recommended by two people out of 70 in my initial Facebook wonderings last spring (noted in part one of the review), at least one person has left a comment somewhere on one of the posts about the Healthmaster, very negative. ?? :) Katie

  • Deborah Jennings

    I have a smoothie maker and use it for all my food grinding. I did make some tomato powder from dehydrated tomatoes with mine. Turned out great!

  • Denise

    We purchased a Vitamix 14 years ago. Still going strong and we love it. Use it all the time.

  • Shiree Martin

    The Blendtec does a fantastic job making white bean, garbanzo bean and brown rice flours. This GF girl knows. And I guess I really need my Blendtec because we make smoothies every day and are gluten free!

  • Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    I’m definitely in the “love it, need it” camp for a high powered blender. But I want my kitchen work done fast and as often as I make smoothies, ice cream, fresh flour, etc. I just have to have a machine I can rely on.

    Vitamix does not throw the flour everywhere when grinding, does not get stuck in the lid, and is not difficult to get the last bit out. Nor do I need to wash the container after every use. If I’m grinding something different, then I will wash it in between. I almost always grind wheat though. (I have also made powered sucanat, rice flour, rye flour, and not sure what else.) Nut butters are frankly the only thing that it sounds like the Blendtec does better than the Vitamix — I haven’t been impressed with my 3 – 4 attempts so far.

    Also, when I was making big batches of tomato sauce for canning the last two years, I used my Vitamix to chop the onions and garlic to add to the sauce (as well as pureeing the tomatoes in the first place! But that’s easy). On the lowest setting, or possibly as high as 2 – 3 — but not very high or loud at all — it chopped it up great, just as I wanted it. I don’t know that one tiny garlic clove would have gone that well, but 2 – 3 cloves with a small onion was perfect.

    I have even used the Vitamix to grind a roast into ground meat. It did overheat the machine and it did take awhile, and it was annoying, but it can be done. If you were adding anything else to it (like eggs or other liquid ingredients) it would go much better — I did it plain and the muscle fibers would get caught on the blades. It might have also gone better if it had been partially frozen, but it wasn’t.

    All in all I have enjoyed having my Vitamix. :)

  • Charla

    I jokingly asked for your Blendtec in a previous post because it did (and sorta still does) seem like you could live without it. I actually have one and we did not spend $500 on it. However, we didn’t get the Twister Jar with it. We spent about $360 on ours and it is not reconditioned. A guy was doing a presentation at a membership superstore and was running a deal on the Blendtec. After seeing everything it could do my husband turned to me and said, “You want one right?” And we got it. I do make smoothies everyday and made huge batches of baby food when our little one was in that stage. I do grind grain in it. You are able to achieve a finer flour with a mill but the Blendtec does not take as much counter space and if I soak the grain I cannot tell a difference. I am thankful for our Blendtec. If I had enough money to buy a Vitamix I might. But I love the pre-programed functions on the Blendtec. This review has show a very tough and shrewd side to you :)

    Charla Reply:

    I meant to say soak the flour!

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Oh, tough and shrewd! And right at Christmas! Just call me the Grinch…who does enjoy some smoothies. ;)

  • Janet

    I purchased the Vitamix a few weeks back and returned it. Too many cons that were not realized after a hasty purchase. I know they are wonderful just too big in my kitchen as it did not fit under my cabinets and the thought of having to pull it out when I wanted to use it made it too much work. The big reason I just could not justify the cost. I learned a good lesson that day-do not buy in haste :)

  • The Crunchy Mama

    Not me! Hubby and I started paleo/Primal back in October (and LOVE it). Our $30 blender does our kids’ smoothies just fine. We don’t eat many seeds (some nuts, ZERO grains or legumes) nor do we do any baking with nut flours.

    GreatMrG Reply:

    No no no!!!

    Paleo/Primal is just one of the new “low carb” fad diets that may seriously endanger your health. Mark Sisson’s ‘Primal Blueprint’ is just a calorie restriction program where people get starved of carbs and calories and get some atkins style results. He is another conman with a ‘caring smile’.

    What you want is a high carb/low fat diet. Please read “80 10 10″ by Douglas Graham, it could save your life. You should be eating tons of fruit, some green veggies, and cutting out the animal protein altogether.

    The REAL caveman diet was:
    - 95% of calories from fresh fruit, 5% from green leaves.
    - 80-90% of calories from carbohydrates. Protein & fat make up the rest.

    No one should torment themselves trying to stick to any diet, but just try to eat a much fruit & veg as you can.

    The Crunchy Mama Reply:

    Northern primitive people ate almost exclusively meat because there are not many fruits and veggies in the far North. They would die of starvation trying to follow your recommendations. They did just fine and without pharmaceuticals on their ultra-low-carb diet.

    I’m all for each person finding out what foods are right for their own bodies and their own health. You will not change my mind by your comments. I eat amazing real food — grassfed meat, LOTS of veggies and some fruit AND, here’s the best part, I don’t have to convince YOU or anyone else that my eating choices are the right ones for me. I listen to my body — grains and beans did not do my body good — and I feel a zillion times better now that I do not consume them.

    Furthermore, I won’t eat TONS of fruit (although I do eat some) because 1. I don’t want my insulin to spike all the time and 2. any vitamins, mineral and nutrition that you tell me is in a particular fruit I can tell you a vegetable or combo of vegetables that will give me those nutrients WITHOUT the insulin spike.

    And your last sentence leaves me scratching my head. I LOVE the foods that I eat on my “diet” and do not feel depraved at all. Good food, good health and good relationships are what I call a happy life — and, thank You, Lord, I have all of those in abundance.

    Feel free to debate me on this but again you won’t change MY mind, just as I don’t expect to change your mind.

    The Crunchy Mama Reply:

    *deprived (not depraved)

    The Crunchy Mama Reply:

    Okay, one more comment in defense of my particular paleo/Primal/no-grain “diet” (because everyone’s choice of foods is different). The foods that I consume every day (the flesh of pastured animals, the flesh of plants but not the seeds, and pastured eggs from my backyard hens) are nutrient-dense. I would not hestitate for a moment to compare the nutrient value of my foods to the foods of someone who eats a lot of grains and legumes (which are inferior to flesh foods). Why are they inferior? Anti-nutrients: lectins, gluten and phytates. It is true that most people can sustain themselves on grains and legumes, but my argument is that those foods are inferior and not nearly as nutritious as flesh foods (incl. the flesh of plants). I do not believe that grains and legumes can give me the health and vitality that flesh foods can, thus I buy and eat with great enjoyment the more nutritious flesh foods that give me amazing health.

    GreatMrG Reply:

    Chewy Mama, I didn’t mean for my post to sound so preachy nor do I want to turn this blender blog into a debate on diets, but I think was just alarmed to see the words “paleo diet” and “kids” in the same sentence.

    But allow me to just briefly respond. “Northern primitive people” did NOT “do just fine” on a high meat, low carb diet. The early eskimos ate more meat than anyone on earth. Their average lifespan was 30 years and the main cause of death was chronic osteoporosis. Please look it up.

    The links between animal protein and various cancers are so strong, and will become more evident in the years to come. Make no mistake, humans are built for a high carb diet. Cooked starches are okay, fruit is better.

    But you sound like you are more conscious of healthy eating than 99% of people so I’m not too concerned about you and your family. And I have a feeling you will come to the high carb/low fat conclusion eventually.
    If you haven’t already, read “The China Study,” it’s the MOST COMPREHENSIVE study ever done on human nutrition.

    Rob Reply:

    Hello,

    I read your post and ask you look for a documentary called Forks over Knives. I was shocked at the research done in the area of nutrition in China. The outcome of that research is truly remarkable. It may sway your thoughts.

    Regards,

    Rob.

  • Andrea

    Just wanted to comment on homemade nut butters…definitely start with your nuts dehydrated/crispy. I also add a little fat to the butter, coconut oil, sometimes peanut oil, to get the right consistency, and yes, add some salt too!

    Alternately, if your nuts are oiled/roasted first, that flavor comes through in the butter, but then that’s another step altogether!

    I agree it’s easier to get nut butter out of a food processor vs. a blender, but then there are all those parts to clean on the food processor. Even if there’s a little left in the bottom of the blender, clean up is so easy, or like others have suggested, make a smoothie with the remnants!

  • iffat

    Blendtec user here and love love love it. I use it almost everyday, whether for nicer green smoothie, chutney or for my yogurt Raita.
    I never regretted my decision of choosing blendtec so far, I love the time saving part with having a blendtec and how easy it is to just rinse it with soapy water. I wouldn’t think there is anything that a vitamix do that a blendtec cannot do, as I have used it at other places. I appreciate your review though, Thanks.

  • Brighid

    Another power blender user here. Like you said, there are definitely some areas where a food processor is the right tool.

    But… with two gardens, I really needed the power blender this year to make tons of tomato sauce (no need to pick out the seeds and skins out of a food mill, been there, done that) and to make so much parsley, mizuna or basil pesto. We also use it off and on for making frozen desserts, hummus, etc.

  • Elaine

    We’ve had a Vitamix for several years now and I think we use it even more now as we continue to clean-up our eating….daily smoothies, weekly ice cream & other iced drinks, hot soups, dips and sauces, grain grinding for breads and such (unless I need a Really large quantity which goes to the Nutrimill). It is loud but not as loud as the NM + everybody in our family likes the noise since it usually means something yummy is coming.

    I’ve never used a BT but can definitely say that having a high-powered blender has been very helpful in our “eating healthier” journey.

  • Lorenzo

    Katie I was hoping Part 3 was going to be a side-by-side duel of a Blendtec/Vitamix VS. a less expensive blender. I’m still not convinced that either of these high-priced machines can do anything that my 40 year-old Osterizer can’t do. I admittedly never make nut butters but I can grind grains into flour with great results (and removing the bottom cap and blade makes it so easy to get food out of the bottom and clean under the blades if necessary).

    Now if you were to compare a Blendtec/Vitamix to a “poor quality,” less-expensive blender (like anything you’d see on the shelves today at a Target or Walmart) then it’s no contest. Buy try using an American made Oster or Waring from decades ago. These machines have motors nearly as strong as a Vitamix, and will cost you 1/20th of the price! And in fact, I recently visited a friend (a Vitamix owner) and did a simple “ice test” and was pretty shocked to see her Vitamix struggling whereas my Osterizer would turn that ice into frosty dust in a matter of seconds.

    I almost want to send you one of these older models so you can see for yourself! May I?! I would do some serious side-by-side tests myself but I don’t own both machines.
    Anyway, great article, but again I’m still not convinced…

  • Holly

    Thanks for this post! I have a Vitamix and LOVE it, but have always wondered what a Blendtec would be like.

  • www.gohmong.com

    Helpful data Thanks.

  • abbshurz

    after much research, i went with the vitamix. fact is, i’ve just seen it in professional uses much more. if restaurants, bars, etc. rely on it every day, than i can too. plus, the vm feels much more well constructed, nearly 2x the weight for a “less powerful” motor should give this away. as for the pre-programmed controls on blendtec, i only ask, how long does it take to make a smoothie? 45 seconds, 60 seconds? i can hang out and crank up the speed when i need to, which is in the 1st ten seconds. i just feel like the electronic controls will certainly wear out before a switch or knob. both are good products, but i am glad i went vitamix. i still use it every day too!

  • Julie

    I have read all three of these posts about the Vitamix and Blendtec. I just burned the motor on my Kitchen Aid food processor today. (this one http://www.amazon.com/Kitchenaid-KFP0711cu-Processor-Beautiful-Countour/dp/B007P205QU/)
    I think I make the homemade Larabars too often in it. Anyway, today I couldn’t get the blades to turn fast enough to make my pie crust (I was making quiche). The butter kept getting stuck in the blades – this had never happened before. I had to make it by hand. Then I thought I would try to shred my spinach and zucchini (already grated) and mix with the eggs in the food processor. Again the blades were too slow. I had to switch everything to my blender and use it instead.

    You linked to a food processor in one of the posts. Is that one you recommend?

    I am just annoyed. My husband is willing to spend the money for a Vitamix, but these posts are making me second guess myself since it sounds like I would still need to own a food processor after all and that what I would use the Vitamix for, I can get done in a food processor. So what’s been your favorite, longest-lasting one?

    Thanks.

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Julie,
    I only own a Blendtec, so I am not exactly sure if a Vitamix could take over for a food processor or not. Not the shredding part of it, for sure…

    My own food processor is a SUPER basic model, probably similar to what I linked to (Cuisinart). I will burn it out someday making Larabars too, I’m sure! ;)

    Sorry I’m not more help… :) Katie

  • Hannah R

    I’m surprised at all the anti blendtec stuff. I understand that no machine is perfect, but after reading this review http://www.blenderbabes.com/blender-babes-101/blender-reviews/blendtec-vs-vitamix/ I am surprised by the negativity, especially since you stated you didn’t try using them for most of the things you can’t use a grain mill (nuts/seeds), food processor, or regular blender on. I just bought a blendtec for $250 used of Ebay. It has the twister and fourside jars included with at least 4 years left on the warranty. I chose blendtec over vitamix for several reasons
    1. Price (it was cheaper)
    2. space (blendtec is smaller than the vitamix and you don’t need another jar for grains)
    3. programmable (I like the fact that I can push a button and then go do something while my blender does the work, with the vitamix you have to stay there to man the controls. I also don’t see the problem with no off button. You know that any button can be pushed to turn it off)
    4. the blade (Blendtec blades are dull to begin with. This is a plus to me with small children who will be doing dishes some day. Also, not being able to take the bottom off to me is a plus because I hate taking my conventional blender apart to wash.)
    I also have an Aunt with a blendtec and her friend has had both vitamix and blendtec and said blendtec was better. I know that most of this is personal opinion, but it seems that you were unfair to blendtec. If I could grind nuts and seeds in my grain mill (we have gluten sensitivities) then I would not have even looked into a high powered blender.

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Hannah – It’s definitely very personal! I did do flax seeds in the Blendtec, and many of them got stuck to the side and didn’t grind. I prefer my $1-at-a-garage-sale coffee grinder for that. I hope you love your new gadget! :) Katie

Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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