test case: debunking the vitamix

Yesterday, I made some soup in my Vitamix. As I cringed while I poured my pumpkin/squash/carrot concoction into the blender, desperately hoping it wouldn’t turn into a globby mess that spewed all over my cabinets, it reminded me that I’d meant to tell you all about my Vitamix experience.

I originally bought it, as so many of us do, swearing that it would change my life. I’d make obnoxiously nutritious smoothies every day, I’d turn leftovers into delicious soups – and I’d amaze my friends in the process because it actually heats the soup as it blends! It slices, it dices, you’ll never need another kitchen appliance again. That’s the myth with the Vitamix, right? You spend $500+ on a blender and your life is forever altered. Because that’s what every single review I read told me. (As well as the salesperson at Williams-Sonoma. But then, that’s his job.)

Here’s the thing – the secret no one’s telling you, the moment where I (hopefully) save you from a serious case of morning-after retail regret: it’s still just a blender. Now, to be fair, it’s definitely an above-average blender. It blends considerably better than the blender I had before (which also had the distinction of being roughly on decibel level with your average jet engine). It does a great job with raw vegetables, if you put enough liquid into the thing (so be prepared to start buying more juice).

But you’re not going to get chopping power from it, and you’re not going to get hummus or pesto, I don’t care what their official cookbook says. Blenders, unlike food processors, want liquid in order to work. That’s just the way of the world. So, to make anything other than the usual blender-y things, you’re going to have to add (a) an ungodly amount of oil, or (b) enough water to entirely dilute the flavor of the thing you were making.

So, in the words of every therapist I’ve ever had: manage your expectations. I was convinced (convinced! Because I am a child of the infomercial age, and I believe hair can be sprayed on from an aerosol can!) that once I had the Vitamix, I could throw away my food processor, ditch my immersion blender, and live in single-appliance harmony for life as one of those annoying people who grinds my own flour and almond butter. And friends, it’s just not so. Use it as a blender, and you’ll be fine. Expect it to change your life, and…like so many Ronco products before it, it’s bound to disappoint.

But the soup thing is pretty cool.

(PS: if you do want one, you should know that the one with the shorter container fits under the counter, which is nice, but the taller container means less sploshing around of hot liquids, which is also nice.)

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5 comments on “test case: debunking the vitamix

  1. Adam

    I make hummus and pesto with a Vitamix regularly without any problems. If you feel like you need to add too much water or oil, my guess is that you’re trying to blend too small of a volume. If you don’t have enough in the container, then the blend is more prone to lift off the blades and form air pockets, and also it makes it harder to use the tamper to push ingredients down into the blades. If you have the wide new-style container shown in the picture, then you need to use a bit more ingredients than in the classic narrower containers.

    I use my Vitamix for chopping less often, but I do periodically make an easy coleslaw.

  2. shoppingsmycardio Post author

    Adam: You definitely sound like a Vitamix expert…I’ve heard so many people say it can be done, but just haven’t had a bit of luck myself. You make a really good point about the different pitcher sizes, though – that could be making a big difference. Thanks for the suggestions!

    Jill: If you’ve borrowed it & know what you’re getting, I think that’s a great way to go. Also helps to buy from a department store, so you can return if you decide you don’t love it.

    Jocy: Look at all that money I saved you. Now you can buy more shoes!

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