Top Questions on How to Use a Vitamix

Happy New Year, everyone! Will and I finally reached Pennsylvania last week, after driving over 3000 miles across the country. It was definitely just in time, too, as we woke up to a few inches of white fluffy snow on the ground. January is such a great month because it’s the first month of the new year – a clean slate! And that means many people are getting into the groove of resolutions to be healthier and happier. I know it can be difficult to maintain these goals throughout the year, but BlenderBrain is gonna be here with you every step of the way! (insert funny picture of us)

We’ve heard that a lot of folks just got brand new Vitamix blenders, and every year, we see the same questions on how to use a Vitamix over and over again. So what better way to start off the year by giving everyone a little boost of confidence! Even if you’ve been a Vitamix owner for years and years, these may still be very helpful to you. Today, we’re going to answer the top questions we get asked about using a Vitamix, and you can also check out our post with first-timer tips if you’re a totally brand new owner.

“I made a thick recipe and there’s a burning smell! Is my machine broken?”

Especially if you have a brand new Vitamix, it’s normal to experience a slight burning smell during your first few blends. This is especially true if you’re blending really thick recipes. During our demonstrations, the burning smell would go away after 3 hours of continuous blending, but it may take longer if you’re using it at home just once or twice a day!

Even if you’ve had a Vitamix for years, but never made any thick recipes like ice cream or peanut butter, you could still experience that “breaking in” smell when you finally do make something of a higher viscosity. However, if you feel that you’ve already broken in your Vitamix and there’s an actual problem with your machine, just call the Vitamix customer care team at 1-800-VITAMIX and they can help you out!

“Do I need to peel that? What skins can I eat?”

When in doubt, follow this rule: “If it’s thin, leave it in. If it’s thick, it will make you sick!”

This means, YES, you can blend the skins of apples, pears, kiwis, plums, peaches, grapes, tomatoes, potatoes, and yams.

You probably SHOULD NOT blend the peels of pineapples, oranges, avocados, butternut squash, mango, cantaloupe, and bananas – check out our nifty little chart below!

Of course, you should always do your research. Everyone is different, and there will always be a select few people who can handle certain things more than others (I once met someone who actually liked eating orange peels!) Some people will have more difficulty digesting certain peels than others, which is why thick skins are usually discouraged for consumption. And then there are a few gray areas:

  • Piths (Ok to add!): A lot of citruses, such as oranges, lemons, and lime, have a white fibrous layer in between the skin and the fruit. It’s a little bitter, but it packs some extra nutrition. Feel free to add that to your smoothies, although it may leave a slightly bitter aftertaste.
  • Watermelon rinds (OK to add!): Shave off the outer green layer of the watermelon with a vegetable peeler, or a knife if you’re skilled, but keep the white rind to blend in your smoothies! It’s low calorie, low sugar, and packed with the amino acid citrulline, which is good for your heart and, ehm, men’s health 😉
  • Tomato “greens” (DO NOT ADD!): The vine and greens of tomatoes are part of the nightshade family, which are classic poisonous plants. When it comes to tomatoes, stick with the fruit, but ditch the green bits! This also applies to potatoes – stay away from the green bits!

“Can I blend pits and seeds?”

The short answer: Seeds, yes. Pits, no.

One of the most common pits people ask if they can blend is the avocado pit. Technically, the Vitamix can do it. Some people believe that blending the avocado pit into their smoothies provides health benefits. The truth, though, is that it doesn’t taste very good. Again, do your research to find out what’s ok to ingest and what’s poisonous or difficult to digest.

“What speed should I use?”

If you’ve ever seen a Vitamix demonstration in person, you most likely have tried a sample of a smoothie, sorbet, and a soup. The good news? Smoothies, frozen desserts, and soups are all made on the highest speed. Basically, if you want the smoothest blends, always blend on the highest speed – speed 10 (on older machines like the 5200 and TNC, you should have a high-speed speed switch, which is higher than speed 10).

Want to do more than just smooth blending? The variable-speed knob should be pretty intuitive; speed 1 is the slowest, and speed 10 is the highest. This means you can just start at the slowest speed, and turn the dial until you’re getting the consistency you’d like. But if you’re unsure, here’s a general guide of how to use the different variable speeds:

1-2: Chopping, mincing, dicing (salsas or mirepoix)
3-4: Grinding meat (meatballs, sausage, general ground meat)
5-7: Mixing (batters for baked goods)
8-9: Emulsifying (sauces and dressing)
10: Smooth blends and Heating (smoothies, sorbets, milkshakes, soups*)

*Soups heat through friction – the temperature of your blend will double about every 2 minutes. You can go from room temperature ingredients to a piping hot blend in about 5-7 minutes. Smoothies and frozen desserts usually include ice and only blend for 1 minute, and therefore should not heat up. 

 “Do I need the dry container?”

Probably not. Every Vitamix comes with a “wet container” by default. The difference between the wet container and the dry container is the blade. Demonstrators will tell you that the technical difference is the wet blades pull ingredients down towards the blade, whereas the dry container pushes ingredients out and up. They will also say things like, “Hard ingredients will scratch your wet container!” Even if both these statements are true, we are the only ones who are going to be totally honest with you: it does not matter. You can accomplish most dry-grinding in the wet container, like making powdered sugar or gluten-free flours from oats, rice, or quinoa. And scratching? Well, both containers are made of the same material, so if it’s gonna scratch your wet container, your dry container is gonna get scratched, too!

This isn’t to say we never recommend the dry grain’s container. This container is good for families who grind a lot of flour. If you’re doing a lot of grinding, it does help to have one container that is totally dry. This way you don’t have to worry about having to hand-dry your wet container after making a smoothie. In Alaska, many of our customers grind their own wheatberries into fresh flour. The dry container is also very popular amongst Indian customers because they like to blend a variety of spices for their cooking! I’ve personally used the dry container a lot when I was in a french macaron baking phase and found that it was a lot cheaper to grind my own almond flour. And again, gluten-free dieter’s can save money by grinding their own rice, oats, or quinoa into flour. Actually, the only flour I think can only be made in the dry container is almond flour. Or any type of nut flour. My guess is because nuts have oil in them, and blending them in the wet container turns them into a nut butter instead of powder.

Anyway, if you find that you don’t need to grind your own grains or often make your own flours, save yourself the money!

Do you have any questions on how to use a Vitamix? Let us know in the comments below, or ask us on our Facebook page! Until then, keep on blending!

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