An immersion blender, also called a wand, stick or hand blender, is a kitchen tool that performs like a conventional kitchen blender without the container. Instead of placing food into a blender to be processed, you immerse the blades of the tool into ingredients in a bowl or pot.
Styles and Accessories
Immersion blenders are powered by conventional electrical cords or rechargeable batteries, with the former having significantly more power than the latter. They are typically between 10 and 12 inches long and have hard plastic casing. The control, usually a simple on/off switch with no choice of settings, is operated by one hand, leaving the other hand free to steady the pot or bowl. Some models have only one blade, while others have interchangeable blades that include a blender blade, a whisk and a chopping blade. The blade part of the blender is exposed or encircled by a shield that prevents spattering.
Immersion blenders are used most commonly to puree soup. Cook your vegetables in water or broth until they are tender and soft and submerge the blender into the mixture, taking care not to rest it on the bottom of the pot, as this will dull the blades. Power up and rotate the blender until the soup reaches the desired consistency. Cooks also use immersion blenders to turn cooked fruits and vegetables into baby food, make tomato sauce or convert pot roast vegetables into a smooth gravy. You can make mashed potatoes with an immersion blender and puree most vegetables to a creamy consistency with a little broth, milk or cream. You can transform a pot of cooked apples into applesauce in minutes and easily get rid of lumps in gravies and sauces. With a chopping attachment, you can chop onions or garlic in bowl or pot before adding other ingredients; with a whisk accessory, you can quickly whip eggs, cream, frosting and meringue.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Detachable accessories can be washed by hand or in the dishwasher. If the blade is attached to the machine, dip it in hot soapy water and activate it for a minute before rinsing and drying. Clean the plastic casing with a soft, damp cloth, as it cannot be immersed in water. The blender is so compact it can be stored in a utensil drawer or in the corner of a cabinet, as long as the blade is protected from contact with other tools.
Tips and Hints
Avoid lifting the blender out of the liquid while it is running to prevent kitchen spatters. If the ingredients being blended stall the blade, break them up with a fork and add more liquid to avoid burning out the blender motor. Frequently check the texture of the food you are blending to achieve the desired consistency and avoid overprocessing.
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