Saturday, May 15, 2010

A super-blending, smoothie-making, peanut smashing gadget for your kitchen

I love smoothies.

My kids love smoothies.

I just don’t like spending the better part of a 20 dollar bill every time the three of us want to have some.

That’s why I was so glad to try the Vitamix 5200 series blender. Only, I’m not sure I’d call it a blender. This thing will turn peanuts into peanut butter. It’ll spin so fast that it’ll turn out hot soup. As my wife will attest, I’m not much of a cook (a lot of Daddy-has-to-cook nights turn into Chick-Fil-A nights at my house), but I was game for anything with this machine.

There’s nothing I didn’t like about it. OK, there was one thing. It’s kind of shake-the-furniture loud when you turn it on high.

I’d also been testing that Jack LaLanne juicer ($99.99) you see on the infomericals every five minutes. I really like the Jack Juicer, too. It works well and will turn a carrot or two and an apple into a frothy speciality even my 6-year-old will devour. But the Jack Juicer is a little messy. It leaves large amount of pulp – the parts of the fruits and vegetables it can’t juice – in a little plastic container on the back of the machine.

Jack will tell you that you can use this pulp to make breads and other desserts, but me, I kind of wanted to get all those great nutrients that Jack talks about in the infomercial into my gremlin’s stomachs. After all, I am sneaking broccoli and spinach into my smoothies now, along with bananas and strawberries (the kids can’t tell).

The Vitamix leaves no pulp. Everything you put in, stays in. And you can blend to different textures: smoothie-like or totally smooth.

With pricing from $449 to $649, the Vitamix isn’t cheap but there are three-year payment plans available and it comes with a seven-year warranty that can be extended to 10 years. Surfing around the internet, trying to guage response to the product, I ran into a lot of raves from people who believe this is the last blender they’ll use for awhile.

I believe that. The Vitamix is tough. If you go to Smoothie King, you’ll notice it’s the brand used there. The 5200 delivers smoothies that are of the exact same consistency as those we buy at the store.

The machine comes with a huge cookbook, including smoothie recipes, soup recipes and directions for how to create things like oatmeal cranberry package pancake batter, curried lentil dip (it surprised me it was so good) and margaritas and daiquiris. Our drinks were virgin, of course.

And after a little trial and error, I was able to produce frosty smoothies that the kids said tasted just like the ones I was paying so much for. Only I could make them for about $1 per glass.

So in my house, over time, the Vitamix would pay for itself in smoothies alone.


SteelerGrrl said...

I have a Vitamix and agree that it's a great machine. During the colder weather we got addicted to hot chocolate -- I just blend milk and a few squares of good-quality chocolate until it's steaming. It makes a silky, rich drink with a frothy head that's better than Starbuck's!

Anonymous said...

Great review, LW. Why don't you do more stuff like this instead of video games all the time. More gadgets! Less games! Now where do I get one of these puppies?

Anonymous said...

Funny you wrote about this. I ordered the Montel Williams one from the internet. It stinks. My neighbor told me about the Vitamix and I got one. Your review is spot on. Best household product other than my microwave.

Anonymous said...

Dangit Langston. You just made me spend $500 on the credit card!