If you are just discovering the benefits of smoothies and other liquid nutrition, it can be hard to get your head around the price tag of some of the high-powered blenders. But at least in the beginning, this isn’t really something to worry about. Apply a few of the ideas below and you should be able to get good results from pretty much any blender. It may take a little more time but, basically, the idea is just to get started making good stuff with whatever machine you can afford.
Tips for easier blending
The first few of these may seem obvious but hopefully they will help you avoid some of the sticky situations I found myself in.
1. Cut hard items into smaller pieces
Many blenders are narrower at the bottom and if you use large pieces of apple, etc., they can become stuck as they move toward the blades. Even if you put these hard pieces in first, they can sit on top of the spinning blades without being drawn down for cutting.
2. Use sufficient liquid to get things started
Make sure the ingredients at the bottom of the container are well covered with liquid to help the blades start rotating. Once there is a cushion of blended ingredients, the other items will float down toward the blades more easily.
3. Blend items in a few different stages
Adding ingredients in several stages will help to prevent the blades jamming from the weight of the food. This works best if you put items that require more blending in first. Only whizz them until they are moving freely before adding the next batch.
4. Avoid using a lot of thickening items
Foods such as bananas and avocados are great for making smoothies thicker and creamier but using too much can really slow down the blades. Also take care when adding chia or sweet basil seeds. They take time to absorb moisture and expand a surprising amount.
5. Avoid overusing high-fiber ingredients
With all the nutrition advice out there telling you to get more fiber, it can be tempting to load up your smoothie with items such as spinach, ginger and pineapple. These are great foods but add too much and they can become wrapped around the blades preventing them from cutting. When using long-stem greens, try breaking them into sections first.
6. Use juices, teas, coconut water for blending
This one is slightly reverse logic but adding more water to help blending also dilutes the flavor, prompting you to add more ingredients… Substituting the water with, for example, apple juice or water melon achieves both goals and adds a big hit of natural sweetness. Concentrates are also good for this.
7. Soak nuts, dried/frozen foods in advance
Items such as almonds and dates can be a real challenge for low-powered blenders. One easy way to avoid this is simply to soak them in a little water for 20 or so minutes before blending. Letting frozen items sit in a little cold water for five minutes also helps.
If you do find yourself with a chunky blend, there is probably fiber around the blades. First try pulsing repeatedly to dislodge it – without burning out the motor – and if that doesn’t work, use a fork to scrape the blades and lift out the stringy bits. If all else fails, have mercy on the motor and pour half of the mix into a glass, clear the blades and then whizz up what is in the container. It should then be ok to add back the remainder and finish off.
Of course, the biggest tip for achieving smooth blending is simply not to overload the container. Yes, I know you know that but if you’re like me, you always want to add in that last bit of goodness. It’s probably a temptation worth resisting. Happy blending!