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Blenders & Mixers Buying Guide
Blenders, smoothie makers, food mixers and processors all provide a little extra help in the kitchen, allowing you to quickly prepare different kinds of food without the hard work. Before you buy, check which appliance has the right tools for the jobs you do most.
Blenders are designed to thoroughly mix and whisk liquids and soft foods into a smooth, even consistency. Full size blenders feature a base containing the motor which drives a rotating blade inside the blending jug or carafe. To use the blender, simply add the foods you wish to blend to the jug, put on the lid, and press a button to begin. Stronger and more powerful than a food mixer, a blender can grind and crush ingredients into a pulp. Another variation is a hand-held blender, sometimes called a stick blender or an immersion blender, which is a smaller, hand-held device with a small blending head. This does a similar job but is more compact and will take longer to blend larger quantities of food.
Smoothie makers are similar to blenders, designed especially for blending and liquidising fresh fruit into a healthy drink. They usually have a specially shaped sloped inner to facilitate easy liquidisation, and sometimes feature a dispensing tap for easy serving of smoothies.
Food mixers are designed to mix and aerate all kinds of ingredients together. A food mixer is better than a blender for recipes where you wish to get more air into the mixture, traditionally done by hand-beating or whisking. This means they are perfect if you like to do a lot of baking.
Food processors are a more sophisticated version of food mixers, designed to take the hard work out of all types of food preparation. Most food processors are supplied with a variety of attachments and fittings, which can facilitate mixing, chopping, blending, liquidising and kneading. Look for a model with variable speed settings, so that you can accurately control the way the food is handled and adjust the processing as you go along.
Soup makers help you create delicious, homemade soup with minimal hassle. Simply cut and prepare your ingredients, place them all in the jug, and let the soup maker take care of the rest. They'll cut, blend and simmer your ingredients, leaving you with a jug of ready to serve soup. Plus, you have the freedom to make your soup thick, chunky or pureed depending on your preference. You can even use soup makers to make smoothies, milkshakes and sorbets too.