The Vita-Mix Blender is an investment in YOU
If I moved to a desert island (with electricity) and was allowed just one piece of equipment, it would be the Vita-Mix TNC. This piece of equipment is way more powerful than your average blender, the Vita-Mix can handle ice, frozen fruit, nuts and seeds and all manner of other raw ingredients, as well as the more obvious soups, smoothies and dressings. I hate clutter on my counters. But a good blender is well worth the counter space it takes up. There's simply no tool I use and benefit from more.
I put up with a ratty $30 Osterizer blender for years. It produced lumpy smoothies and constantly jammed when making slaws, soups, and blended salads.
When I made my sports drink of bananas and celery, the celery would be left in chunks, and I'd find myself coughing up strands of the stuff when out on a run with the mixture in my water bottle. It never gets jammed, it breaks up just about anything, and it produces smoothies that are actually smooth.
A Vita Mix makes the raw food lifestyle dramatically easier, and anything that lets you stick to fruits and vegetables is literally an investment in your health.
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I've had my machine for 10 years. Yes they are expensive. Regular readers know that I make smoothies every morning! It's the work horse of my kitchen. The value I have already got out of that machine is a hundred times over what I paid for it. It will be priceless to you. The Vita-Mix machine has to be one of the most versatile pieces of kitchen equipment available in the world today, however, as many of you know, it's far from cheap.
Manufactured in the USA, where there are several models to choose from, the Vita-Mix TNC, and the Vita-Mix Super TNC. (TNC stands for Total Nutrition Centre). The difference between the two is very simple: the latter comes with an extra jug - a 'dry' jug as it is called, which is used purely for milling dry ingredients such as nuts, seeds and grains. It turns them into a fine powder in no time at all.
The basic TNC - though 'basic' is hardly a fitting word for this machine - comes with a 'wet' jug as standard. (The Super comes with both). It holds up to 2 litres of liquid, is made of a clear incredibly tough plastic (polycarbonate), has a durable rubber lid with a removable clear plastic top, for easy access for adding ingredients and also through which to place the 'tamper' (plunger) when needed. The completed jug fits onto the heavy square base, which is white, is fitted with a 2 horsepower, commercial duty motor, and has an on/off switch, a speed dial, and a variable speed option switch (full power/variable). The variety of speed settings is a very useful feature, and we make use of it often.
When I first came across the Vita-Mix at a raw food week conference in Estes Park, Colorado, I was very impressed. It's a big machine - it stands approx. 52cm tall (around 21"), and is very solid looking. The base also weighs quite heavy, so from every angle it seems to speak quality. I watched in amazement as it made light work of blending a whole assortment of foods, which, from experience, I knew my cheap high speed blender would never have handled.
However, it wasn't until I finally saved enough money to buy my own that I became aware of the wide range of uses it has. These include: 'Juicing' (though the fibre remains), milling, grinding, whipping, chopping, homogenizing, blending, creaming and puréeing.
It even 'cooks' if required (soups and so on), because of the speed the blades turn. If left long enough (minutes, rather than seconds) it will use the friction created by the blades to actually heat foods right up to 99 degrees -- and we all know we don't want to go any higher than that or we kill the enzymes and vitamins. But you have to let it run awhile before it actually gets warm. The food is made into a smoothie long before it gets warm.
The types of things I use my machine for are:
1. Super Thick smoothies using fresh or frozen ingredients
2. Ice-creams using frozen fruit
3. Dips and dressings of all types and consistencies
4. Milling oats, grains or nuts for cookies, cakes or pizza bases
5. Whipping for creamy desserts
7. Good old icecream shakes
Before I bought it I wondered how frequently I would use such an expensive machine.
Many people have kitchen equipment that just sits in you pantry. I use my juicer about 3-5 times a week in the summer, and less so in the winter, and my food processor maybe once or twice a month. Not so with the Vita-Mix. It's so easy and quick to use, and literally takes 10 seconds to clean, that mine gets used every single day, often more than once a day.
So while the cost seemed very high initially, when I weighed up the number of uses, the fact it has a 3 year warranty, the ease and speed of use and cleaning, and just how much benefit I will gain from it over the years to come it really has actually come to seem like excellent value for money.
There is plenty more I could say regarding its uses and how it works, why it is so powerful and durable and so on, however the Vita-Mix people have brought out a stunning colour brochure all of their own which does the job far better than I ever could. So for those of you who are interested in learning more, contact The Fresh Network.
However, as always I avoid trying to 'sell' anything to anyone, so this review is coming from me as a householder rather than a Vita-Mix agent! In which case it's time to mention the negatives as well as the positives.
To date, to be fair, I've never blown the fuse on it, but I did have it stop working a couple times. I was working it too hard, trying to process too much, too fast. As much as I hoped the machine would be invincible, I learned quite soon that even the Vita-Mix does have its limitations. So when the machine stopped for the first time I admit I panicked, but upon reading the manual I found that there is a special button underneath the base which simply needs to be popped back in to get the machine to start working again. (It has a safety mechanism built in so that should the machine start overheating it cuts out to protect the motor). All it meant was that in future I had to take more care with what I put in and the consistency of it.
Of course, I am possibly a harder taskmaster than most, and I was trying to blend a huge amount of dates with carob and avocado to make a large amount of chocolate pudding! But because the dates weren't soaked at all it struggled for a while, and this led to overheating - understandable really. The same thing happened with a large quantity of spinach. Once more, I just had to learn to either soak the ingredients first, or put the wet stuff in first. "Ah," I finally realised one day, "that's why it's called a 'wet' jug." So… be aware, it's important that you use at the very least moist ingredients when using the standard 'wet' jug.
Likewise the 'dry' jug should ideally only be used for dry foods, as mentioned earlier. It can double up for wet foods as well if you have both jugs and one has already been used, but it doesn't work the other way round - the wet jug can only be used for wet foods.
Apart from that, there have been no other problems or concerns encountered by me or my customers. It has just taken a bit of getting used to as to its limits, but there's no way I could go back to using just a normal blender as this is so superior in so many ways (I've gone though about three regular blenders --killed motors, and cracked glass hoppers)
What also makes this, on weighing everything up, a very good buy all told, is that with both machines you get a free instructional video, an impressive 'Getting Started' recipe binder containing hundreds of recipes and colour photos, and with the Super TNC comes a whole grains booklet to show you how best to use your dry jug.
One more thing you can personally talk to me and ask questain about this product.
All in all, and it's a hard decision to make, if I could only have one piece of electrical kitchen equipment, it would be the Vita-Mix. The Champion juicer comes a very close second for juicing carrots, and I rely on that nearly as much.
But the best thing of all has to be the ease of cleaning, which is simply a case of filling the jug with warm water, giving it a whiz on high speed for a few seconds and pouring the water away to reveal a pristine jug. Magic!