Your blender has its limits
Most of us lack some of the kitchen appliances we want, which means most of us have been “creative” in using the tools we do have to make up for the food processor or rolling pin we’re still hoping to get for Christmas. While creativity has its benefits, ingenuity with kitchen gear (especially your blender) can be disastrous.
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Here are 5 things to never put in your blender:
Mashed potatoes require elbow grease—it’s unavoidable. Shortcuts to the hard work required for mashed potatoes will inevitably ruin the dish. When potatoes are overworked, they become gummy and turn a soft and creamy bowl of mashed potatoes into the texture of semisolid glue. Blenders aggressively agitate what they are blending—a nightmare for the starches in a potato. Potato soup is safe to blend because the liquid prevents the mix from becoming gummy, but by itself, a potato is defenseless in the blender.
You’ll be sorely disappointed if you try to grind coffee beans in your blender. Not only do the beans dull the blades, but the machine will slice the beans into irregularly sized pieces rather than creating an even grind of crushed coffee beans.
Unless you want to spend an afternoon excavating sticky fruit paste from the bottom of your blender with a butter knife, don’t try blending dried fruit or sun-dried tomatoes. If you need to make a paste from dried fruit or sun-dried tomatoes, you must hydrate them in a liquid before placing them in the blender. The liquid loosens the fruit so it doesn’t cling to the base of the blender blades.
Whole spices retain their potency better than preground spices because the insides aren't exposed to the air. However, if you want to grind your spices at home, the blender will produce an uneven grind and leave chunks of unground spices that you shouldn’t put in your food. You can use a cheap coffee grinder to easily grind your spices evenly.
A blender is not a mixer and it never will be. This is a mistake you only make once, so if you haven’t done it, be wise and learn from our mistakes. Not only is there usually not enough liquid to turn the mixture, but all dough has flour in it, and flour is packed with a mighty protein called gluten. Aggressive blade movements overwork the flour, forcing the gluten to develop too quickly and creating an incredibly tough texture in your dough. Unless you want a tray of dense cookies that won’t bend and that resist when you take a bite, stick to mixing by hand.