Product Review: Cuisinart Immersion Blender (Model CSB-76TW 美膳雅專業級手持式攪拌棒 (CSB-76TW) 使用心得

Two years ago, I bought this immersion blender online.  Online shopping at night is dangerous. My defenses are down, and my imagination tends to runs amok.  Suddenly, I became THE  pulled together, healthy person who would serenely whip up a healthy smoothie everyday before work. In reality, all I usually have time for is a piece of toast, usually crunched down in a flurry of crumbs, while running around trying to find something to wear.  So the immersion blender sat in its box, forgotten and lonely in a corner of my closet, until I found it recently in my bout of clearing out (more on that later). I decided to rectify matters (and to justify why another appliance needed a home in my kitchen) and put it into good use.

最近工作太忙了 差一點忘了我有買了一個 Immersion Blender.  是 夏天smoothie 或是冬天濃湯的好幫手。 有些人可能會好奇, 如果我家有了打果汁機 或是攪拌機, 還會需要另一個廚具嗎? 後來查了一下資料, 發覺其實每一個功能都不太同。 果汁機能把食物液化 (liquefy) 。 攪拌機是能把食物結合, 但比較不能液化。Immersion blender 是手拿的多功能小工具,可以切,攪拌跟把食物液化。

Some specifics first: The immersion I will be reviewing is by Cuisinart, and is the CSB-76TW model.  It’s the most basic model, with a plastic body and stainless steel blade.

One aspect that I was curious about was the differences between an immersion blender and hand mixer and blender.  Can one replace the other? I found this wonderful post on Sur La Table’s blog  which answered my questions.

Basically, blenders liquefy foods.  You can use a blender to make a smoothie, margaritas, or applesauce.

philips blender

Original image source: Philips

A mixer combines ingredients, but is unable to turn them into liquids.

kitchenaid mixer

Original image source: Amazon.com

You can use a mixer to make batters for cakes and cookies, or dough for breads or dumplings.  However, it’s not as effective for making smoothies.

Two appliances that you can hold in your hand are a hand mixer and an immersion blender.  Often times they are smaller, and easier to store.  However, in comparison, their motors are not as strong.

modern-mixers

Original image source: Cuisinart

A hand mixer is a bit less hardy than a mixer, it can whip egg whites, frosting, whipped cream, batter for pancakes and waffles, but it’s not capable of mixing bread dough.

What about an immersion blender?

With an immersion blender, you can blend directly in the pot.   This works really well for thick and chunky soups; not only can you smooth out the ingredients, but you can also control the texture of the  more easily.  (I used to have to deal with pouring hot soup into a blender to smooth out the chunks~ as seen here.)

immersion blender

Original image source: Cuisinart

In the summer, I found that the immersion blender is handy for making smoothies.  I just use the plastic cup that came in the box. It’s not fancy, but it gets the job done.  Here are some of my tips:

  • Start at the top of the cup, and slowly blend your way towards the bottom.
  • Try to keep both the blade, and its cover (the dome-shaped part) fully submerged in your liquid, to avoid splatters
  •  I put all the darker colored items towards the bottom (such as berries) and the lighter colored items at the top. In case of splatter, it’s always less traumatizing for me to wipe up yogurt or banana, rather than more colorful (and stain-prone) berries.  (Not that I learned this the hard way or anything).
  • Start at the lowest setting and blend all the fruit first; then move onto the higher setting to smooth everything out to your desired consistency.
  • Keep your fingers AWAY from inside the cup.  I know this sounds obvious, but I’ve caught myself absentmindedly wanting to quickly “adjust” the fruit inside the cup, with my fingers, almost forgetting that the blade is powerfully sharp, and can send you to the emergency room!  (This is when I find the long-handled spoons I bought when I was in Korea to be especially handy, for prying a stray bit of fruit loose from the blades).

使用上, 其實很方便!但千萬要記住不要一次把杯子裡的食材裝太滿 免得打的時候全部飛出來。 (另外,我是把比較繽紛的食材先放入,淺色的食材後方, 這樣如果真的不小心有食材溢出來,至少比較好清洗。

Here are some of the combinations I have been enjoying lately.  As I mentioned before, summer is really fruit extravaganza in Taiwan.  Fruits that I’ve been adding with gleeful abandon are dragonfruit and of course mango.  Bananas were at an insanely low price a few weeks ago, so those have been making regular appearances too.

As you can see, I add in chia seeds and oatmeal to bulk up my smoothies. In Taiwan, there is also a  wealth of different powders that people usually add to their oatmeal, or maybe soups.  These powders can be usually found in the cereal aisle of grocery stores, or in organic food shops.

I bought the Job’s Tears Powder (薏仁)because it’s something that I’ve always wanted to eat more of. According to traditional Chinese medicine, there are numerous health benefits from Job’s Tears- the most common one is that it’s good for your skin.  That’s convincing enough for me to add a teaspoon to my smoothies.  Please note that Job’s Tears powder is definitely not flavorless. I can only describe it as a slight, chalky bitterness.  Now that I’m used to it, I don’t really notice it, but it was really an acquired taste.

I’m happy to report back that I’ve used this immersion blender at least once a day, for the past two months. It’s a reliable little powerhouse, and compact to store in my kitchen drawers (a bit more space efficient than my previous blender) Now.  Even though my calendar says (lies) that it will be autumn soon, I’ll believe it when I feel it. And that’s when I’ll be trading in smoothies for lots of creamy, yet hearty vegetable soups. Stay tuned.

Enjoy!

Information:  If you are in Taiwan, I bought my immersion blender from the all-encompassing PC Home.  Elsewhere in the world, I’ve seen similar products on Amazon and Costco.

(Please note that this is not a sponsored post.  I paid for the appliance and all ingredients with my own money. All viewpoints and experiences expressed are my own). 

 

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