This is going to be a shameless plug for the Vita-Mix machine. And I do mean shameless, because I do not have any reservations in recommending this awesome machine for anyone's kitchen.
We purchased our Vita-Mix almost six years ago and have never had a moment's trouble with it. The warranty is seven years.
Here's what I am able to do with my Vita-Mix. I use it several times each day.
- Mill grains into flour (Grinding Gluten-Free Grains and Whole Wheat Bread Baking Tutorial)
- Crack grains (Cracked Grain Cereal Mix and GF Cracked Grain Cereal Mix)
- Blend chocolate syrup and chocolate glaze/frosting (Chocolate Syrup and Dark Chocolate Frosting)
- Whip up ice cream ingredients (Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream)
- Blend hummus and other bean dips (Hummus)
- Blend smoothies, including pulverizing the ice with no trouble at all (Fruit Smoothie Formula)
- Blend/whip salad dressings (Tofu Dressing with Almond and Mustard)
- Chop fruit into purees and sauces (Raw Applesauce)
- Grind nut butters (Natural Peanut Butter)
- Grind nuts and water to create smooth and creamy nut milks (Raw Nut Milk – Almond or Hazelnut)
- Puree frozen fruit to become frozen treats (Chocolate Banana Shake)
- Grind flax seeds into flax seed meal (Flax Seed Meal: Egg Substitute)
- Chop nuts, grind nut flours
- Grind coarse sea salt into fine sea salt, grind other seasoning mixes (Herb Seasoning Salt)
- Grind coarse date sugar into a fine sugar
- Puree garlic with water to make a sauce for spraying on pests in the garden
- Chop fresh herbs with olive oil, making a paste to freeze in ice cube trays for later use
What Can't Be Beat?
Plenty — the handling of ice and harder foods in smoothies and raw food juices; the pulverization of nuts to create simple, raw nut milks; the making of sauces, spreads and purees; the cracking of grains; and the ease with which I can mill grains in a versatile appliance.
The current model of the Vita-Mix (the 5200) offers a BPA-free container. That is a really great feature. I would like to investigate whether my model's container (the 5000) leaches BPA into the foods I prepare with it. If so, I also wonder whether I could purchase the newer container to fit on my older model's base.
Hold On A Second!
Since I am giving my unbiased opinion, let me tell you what I don't recommend as uses of the Vita-Mix. I don't think it handles chopping vegetables as well as a food processor does. It doesn't cut as evenly and I believe it doesn't circulate the vegetables as well because the base of the container isn't as wide as a food processor's container. When making healthy slaws, the Vita-Mix tends to juice the veggies while it chops them (unevenly) and the resulting juice imparts a bitter flavor to the slaw. So if you're wanting the Vita-Mix as a food processor, I say — get a food processor, such as the Cuisinart 14-cup food processor.
And while the Vita-Mix makes nut butters pretty well, I believe the food processor performs this function better also. Again, it has to do with the wider container base which better allows the nut butter to circulate. Fattier nuts such as peanuts do well in the Vita-Mix, but nuts with less oil don't do well at all because there's no oil to help them circulate in the narrow container.
If you are interested in the Vita-Mix just for grinding grains, I would probably recommend purchasing a stand-alone grain mill, such as a Nutrimill. However, I'm not saying the Vita-Mix doesn't do an excellent job with grinding grains. I learned very quickly that one should grind harder grains (such as wheat, rye, barley, kamut and rice) for 15 seconds longer than the manual recommends to ensure a smooth fine grind. In addition, resist the temptation to grind more than 2 cups of grains at a time because overloading it can also result in a less-than-fine grind. If you follow these two additional guidelines, your flours will be fine and light and perfect for many baking applications.
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