What is a Vitamix?
What the manufacturers blurb says:
The Vitamix is so much more than a blender. The Vitamix is an amazingly versatile machine that can actually help you and your family lead a healthier life. What’s more, it breaks down whole foods into tiny pieces so you can absorb more of the foods nutrients into your body.
- Juicing – make fresh fruit and vegetable juices and retain all that fibre and nutrition.
- Cooking – cook steaming hot soup, sauces, gravies and fondues in 4-6 minutes, all without a stove.
- Freezing – when you’re ready for dessert, create homemade ice cream and fresh fruit sorbets in 30 seconds.
- Blend – whether it’s a tangy salad dressing or mayonnaise, a fresh fruit smoothie or all natural baby food – the Vitamix will blend for a consistent result everytime.
- Chopping – coarse or fine, simply adjust the variable speed dial to grate cheese, chop onions and carrots or create healthy chunky salsas or smooth creamy dips in a flash.
- Grinding grains and kneading dough – capture the nutrients from whole grains when you grind wheat, rice, coffee, spices, almond or soy with the Vitamix. The Dry Food Jug, an optional accessory, is best suited to this task.
- Cleaning – takes a mere 15 seconds to clean!
(excerpt from here)
I had never heard of a Vitamix until, looking to re-energise and generally feel better after the birth of my son, I did a raw food course in 2011. It wasn’t until earlier this year that I actually bought one.
Why did I finally give in and spend the dough? ($900)
Because I blew up two, not so cheap, blenders in two years and realised that I would have saved money had I invested in a Vitamix in the first place!
Am I going to write a totally glowing and positive review of this expensive piece of kitchen equipment and tell you you NEED one?
Well, no actually.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my Vitamix. I use it everyday. I am thrilled with it’s performance and results. But, as with all kitchen appliances, it really is only as good as you make it, and you have to learn to use it to get the full benefits. If you only make the odd banana smoothie in a blender, then you can happily use a more affordable model. If you adore a green smoothie daily or are looking to learn to cook with whole foods and less pre-packaged foods, then yes, you would look into making the investment for long term value.
As with the Thermomix, if you do some online research on the Vitamix, you’ll find passionate, firey debates about how marvelous it is, how much better it is than it’s competitors etc. I get it, I really do. When you use the machine to its full potential, it can be somewhat life changing and naturally, you want to share your successes. I guess the main thing stopping me from sounding like one of these Vitamix-junkies (and I am one!) is that to get the value for money and to use the machine to it’s full capacity, you almost have to re-train yourself in how to cook so your first instinct is to reach for the Vitamix jug, not realise half way through cutting carrots with a knife, “Oh bugger, I should be using my very expensive blender to do this!”. That has been my stumbling block.
We bought our machine in the Winter and I had visions of creating amazing soups (the machine works at such a speed that it heats and cooks foods as well as general blending), in minutes flat. We made one batch. The soup was delicious, but for me, it was the noise of running the blender at that speed for 8 minutes that was a tad off putting. Having said that, there is certainly something to be said for throwing in some fresh veggies and a little stock or water, flicking a switch and 8 minutes later having soup. You might just want to jump in the shower while that’s happening so you don’t have to listen to it!
I’m still experimenting with my machine and learning to use it. In our wet jug (there are two jugs: one for wet foods and one for dry – the second jug is an additional cost) we do daily green smoothies, (well, ours end up being what my son calls ‘grey smoothies’ because we use so many berries!), and there is no question that the consistency and quality of these drinks are far superior to the same made with our old blenders. A big win for me. I also have a slight addiction to throwing in some frozen fruit and making ice creams and sorbets. Another win. When I remember, I also use the wet jug to mince my own meat and chop a big batch of veggies. In the dry jug I grind coffee beans and, being coeliac, use it to make rice flours and other gluten free flour mixes along with making nut meals and butters. In that respect, it is fantastic for my family.
I can’t quite see myself using it to chop hard boiled eggs for salad or finely chopping onions as the Users Manual suggests. Nor have I used it to create some of the meal type foods that you wouldn’t automatically associate with a blender, like “Chorizo & Feta Stuffed Chicken” (a recipe in the book). That’s not a negative on the machine’s side, more a reflection of my lack of experience in using it.
So yes, the machine CAN do many, many things, but it doesn’t do it magically on its own! I truly think the trick with these expensive, time saving, ‘do everything’ gadgets is that when you buy one, you must take the time to really get to know just how to use them, and to make sure you use them repeatedly over the first few months as a way to almost re-train your cooking muscle memory!
At this stage, I do use my food processor still. A lot. This is mainly due to the size of the Vitamix jug (see CONS section below). Strangely, I feel I have more control over the consistency of the food with my processor.
I think that the overall feeling I’m giving off about the machine mainly comes from my lack of time spent familiarising myself with its many features. Actually, in writing this review, and re-reading through the manual, recipe book and website, I’m feeling pretty inspired to have a crack at all the other things the machine can do, other than smoothies!
Vitamix at a Glance:
Nutrition: The Vitamix pulverises fruits, vegetables and grains meaning that the entire food (skin, seeds etc) is incorporated into your food or drink.
Money Saving: After the initial outlay, I have noticed that I’m not spending the same amount on expensive gluten free flours or almond meal as I had before.
Less food wastage: When I used to juice fruits and vegetables, despite all good intentions, I never quite got around to doing anything else with the pulp other than chuck it or compost it. The Vitamix eliminates this waste.
Versatile: It chops, creams, blends, cooks, grinds, kneads, churns, emulsifies, crushes, whisks, frappes, purees, powders and whips.
Powerful: That’s a seriously powerful two peak output horsepower motor that spins at up to 384km per hour!
Performance: Exceptional. At all speeds and all settings. Very consistent.
Jug: BPA free & shatterproof with clearly visible measurement list.
Longevity and Service: Vitamix are known for their longevity and, though I’ve not had to deal with any breakages, their Customer Service is said to be exceptional.
Warranty: 7 years
Resources: Great online resources to learn to use your machine and online support for trouble shooting (I posted on the company’s FB page about removing a garlic smell from my jug and they responded within half an hour).
Manual/Recipe Book: Included is an extensive and detailed manual and recipe book to get you started and learn how to use your machine. It leaves no question unanswered!
Noise: No doubting it. It IS noisy. There is a sound cover that is available at extra cost. If I had very small children in the house, I would consider one. For now, I just do an “I’m about to flip the switch!” general warning and my four year old hides in his room!
Getting the hang of it to make things other than smoothies and sorbet can take some time! Getting the ‘feel’ right for such a powerful machine is tricky at first. I caused it to hit safety shut down twice in the first week I bought it!
Jug Size: The jug is very long, to accommodate up to 2 litres of liquid, and when using the machine for anything other than liquids, it is frustratingly difficult to remove all the mixture from the base of the jug. I found that when making things like bliss balls, hummus or other paste-y type foods, that I was wasting a fair bit of the food due to its difficulty in removal. You can buy a smaller wet jug at an additional cost.
Price: I’ve seen the machine at various prices, but usually you’re looking at between $700 – $1000 dollars. This certainly limits its accessibility to many families. But, if you are a consistent user of a blender for things other than soft fruits and liquids, then you run the risk of spending more as you burn out less expensive models through over use.
Overall, I am extremely impressed with my Vitamix and do feel it was worth the money I spent on it. I am inspired to explore its features more thoroughly and use it to its full potential.
Do you have a Vitamix? What has been YOUR experience with it? Share with us in the comments!
*This is an honest, real life, and UNsponsored review of the Vitamix Total Nutrition Centre, by Karen Swan for mamabake.com