An immersion blender or hand blender is a great kitchen tool that you can use to cook a variety of fabulous dishes. This article tells you how to use it.
Immersion blenders are wonderful things to use when you need to make the contents of a hot soup or sauce smooth. They also work very well in making smoothies or blending any liquid. They are handy if you need to chop a lot of garlic or nuts as well. These types of blenders are much easier to clean than a regular blender making them a real time saver, and they are very easy to learn how to use.
Who Invented the Immersion Blender?
The inventor of this type of blender was Roger Perrinjaquet, who made the first model in Switzerland in 1950. He called it a bamix blender which is a combination of words bat et mixe in French which means beats and mixes. The Europeans first started using the bamix blender in the 1960’s. The appliance did not get to America until the 1980’s.
Types of Immersion Blenders
Most immersion blenders are about 10 to 12 inches long but there are professional grade models that might top 2 feet. They have a shaft with a shield at the bottom where the blades are held. They can be found with cords or you can get the battery version which is rechargeable and can be used without a cord.
Hand Blender Parts
Some immersion blenders have attachments that you can snap in to do a variety of blending tasks. If you need to chop things you should put on the blades but if you just need to whisk something put the whisk attachment on. Many immersion types only have the blending attachment but that does not make them any less useful.
A bowl or pan is necessary when using a hand blender because the blender itself does not have a container. Most hand blenders have a shield that goes over the top of the blades. This is so that the substance being chopped or blended does not come out and hit the operator.
Despite their shield, when blending liquids there is still a chance of the contents splashing out so be very careful when you first turn on the hand blender. If it has speeds make sure you are using the lowest speed at first. Hot liquid splashing into the face is not a pleasant experience (to say the least). If you are chopping nuts in a bowl they can really hurt when they fly out at a fast speed (ouch). Stand aside and watch out so you do not get splashed when you first turn the hand blender on. Just turn it to an angle away from you so if it splashes you won’t get hit. (This may sound like common sense, but trust me, if you’re in a hurry, it’s easy to throw caution to the wind and end up with soup all over your clothes.)
Your Hand Blender Has Many Uses
Using an immersion blender for soups is ideal. They puree very nicely and are suitable for making soups velvety and smooth. If you are blending a soup or sauce while it is on the flame of the burner, be sure that your model of hand blender is suitable to do this. Some are not heat resistant.
You can also make sauces without any lumps and you can make your own organic baby food. The appliance actually draws liquid up into the blades making a whirlpool effect so that every bit of the ingredients is pureed to a smooth consistency.
Using a regular blender to puree a big pot of soup can be a bit irritating however with a hand blender you just stick it in the hot pot and let it go. With a regular blender you have to transfer the soup in batches because the jar container on a standard blender is not big enough. Every time you transfer to the container you run the risk of being burned by the hot liquid. Once you blend the puree you have to put it somewhere else to sit while you do other batches. This requires the use of another dish that will have to be washed and you also run the risk of having the soup get cold, which sucks if you are going to serve it to your family that night. But with a hand blender, you don’t have any of those problems.
Easy Clean Up
When you are done using the hand blender just unplug it if it has a plug, and remove the attachment blades or whisk, if you’ve used any of those, and wash them down. The wand itself can be wiped clean with a wet rag. It is not a good idea to immerse it in water. Make sure everything dries well and put it away for the next time you need to use a tool to puree, chop or whisk.
The immersion blender is a great, time saving small kitchen appliance and one that you’ll soon find you can’t live without.