If you are only using the blender for a morning smoothie or a weekend barbecue, then you're missing out on all the convenience it can offer busy cooks. There are many blender uses that are simply underused, from grating and chopping to creating creamy sauces and desserts.
Shred Cheese in a Blender
Grating cheese is often one of the least favorite cooking chores in the kitchen. The process is slow and can be painful or difficult to do for little kids or older cooks with arthritis.
Many chefs prefer the quick process and even product of grating cheese in a blender. However, it's not as easy as putting an entire wedge into the blender.
To shred cheese in a blender, cut the parmesan into 1 to 2-inch pieces. Start at the low setting and then move up to medium. To grate cheese in the blender, it's best to use a harder cheese, like cheddar or swiss, that's still cold from the fridge. Each machine may be different, so you might want to play with the settings and use small batches until you find what works for you and your tastes.
Tips on Using a Blender
Because of its reputation as a durable cooking gadget, the blender can get overused or overstuffed with sticky ingredients and begin to sputter. This is generally no cause for alarm. Follow a few guidelines, like don't overfill the carafe and make sure that the blender has space to mix the ingredients.
Don't push the machine by turning it on at the highest setting, according to Best Blenders Reviews. Start slow and build up incrementally so that the ingredients can have a chance to blend together and not bind up the blades at the base of the small appliance.
The pulse feature can chop foods rather than blend them into mush. This feature also lets you know if a large piece of food has jammed the blades. It was originally designed to dislodge those big chunks that can cause big problems at the bottom of the carafe. Hit the pulse button a few times to get the blades moving.
A Blender on the Brink
Using the machine correctly will extend its life in service. If the machine smokes when it is turned on or doesn't roar to life, then turn it off and unplug it immediately. It is more than likely a problem with the motor that is causing the blender to smoke, grind or sputter.
Repairing the blender by yourself can be difficult. The motor may need grease or gasket replacement, which should be done by a professional to ensure that the machine doesn't suffer further damage.
How to Clean a Blender
A clean blender will run better. Check with the user's manual before placing it in the dishwasher. Some parts of a blender may not do well in the harsh environment of a dishwasher.
To quickly clean a blender, you can use the fast action of the blades to whisk bits of food and oil from the bottom and sides of the carafe. Better Homes and Gardens recommends putting 2 cups of lukewarm water and a tablespoon of vinegar in the empty carafe. With the cover on, move the blender from low to medium speed and let it sit and run for one minute.
Pour the solution out and add 2 cups of warm water and a drop of dishwashing liquid. Repeat the blending process.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.