A blender is one of the most commonly owned small appliances in America. In fact, 85 percent of households have one sitting in their kitchen right now. But gone are the days of using a blender just for smoothies and margaritas. Modern kitchen blenders feature all sorts of fancy upgrades, from internal heating elements to digital timers. And, it turns out, there’s a lot more you can do with this handy little machine than you may ever have realized.
Here are four creative ways to whip up something new.
Forget store bought jars and plastic containers. This simple and quick trick will have you wondering why you ever bought premade salsa. The best part is that you can completely customize the recipe to your own preferences, dietary restrictions and seasonal options.
Choose your ingredients, cut off any tops or tips, deseed anything that needs to be deseeded (jalapeños, bell peppers) and chop anything large (onions, fruits) into smaller chunks. Combine everything in your blender, adding smaller ingredients first and larger ingredients on top, then go to town.
Utilize the “chop” or “pulse” option in five second increments until the salsa is the consistency your fiery little heart desires. It goes without saying that the longer you blend, the smoother the consistency will be, so give it just a few pulses for chunky pico de gallo or more pulses for a smooth salsa verde.
Here's an easy recipe to try:
Mango Jalapeño Salsa
1-2 jalapeño peppers (depending on heat preference)
1/2 yellow onion
1/2 medium-sized cucumber
1 mango (peeled, pit removed)
1 handful cilantro
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in blender and pulse to desired consistency.
2. DIY beauty treatments
A variety of beauty treatments can be made in a blender. For a soothing oatmeal mask, blend rolled oats into a fine powder then add water (for sensitive skin) or melted coconut oil (for dry skin). This also works for avocado hair treatments, clarifying charcoal masks and even customized bath soaks. Your custom creations can be added to mason jars and shared as gifts for birthdays, holidays or just to show off (if you’re that type).
While, yes, all of you kitchen cooking mavens around the globe have been using blenders to purée soups for decades, there are a couple of unique ways to use a blender to significantly simplify your cooking.
New blenders often have a soup setting which allows you to heat soup while you’re blending it. If you decided not to spring for a really high-end blender but still have one with some pretty serious blade speed, you can purée your soup at such a fierce momentum that the blades themselves will heat the soup. If you aren’t making a purée, you can at the very least use the blender to finely chop vegetables to make your grandmother’s prized chicken soup.
4. Fresh nut butters
Another opportunity to ditch the processed food in a jar is by making your own fresh nut butter. Use the blender to grind raw almonds, cashews or sunflower seeds to whatever style you prefer – chunky or smooth or somewhere in between – and whatever flavoring you want to create a delicious and healthy nut butter. Cinnamon, chocolate, maple syrup or honey all make amazing additions to any nut butter. You can make these on demand each time you need them or prepare a larger batch and keep it in an airtight container for up to a week.
Bonus cleaning tip:
Skip taking apart your blender and risking losing parts or injuring yourself. Simply add 1 teaspoon of dish liquid to 2 cups of hot water, screw on the lid tightly, turn the blender on high for two minutes and you’re done! Just be sure to rinse thoroughly so you don’t end up with soapy smoothies.