Imagine you really had to get a meal cooked; a meal whose ingredients you have to blend and your blender suddenly develop a fault or you are disconnected from electricity, what do you do? You definitely cannot just dump the whole thing and decide to not cook anymore.
What if you found out there are other alternatives to blending? This should not come as a surprise, still. Since when people started practicing the art of cooking, they have been blending ingredients; and this happened long before the advent of electricity.
Blenders are kitchen tools used in transforming ingredients from their raw solid forms to a mashed or liquid form. There are different types of blenders. A vast range of varieties we cannot readily exhaust.
The electric blender we have today came alongside technology. Prior to the advent of the electric blender, there were ways of making things to their puree form. The cooks back then may not have made juice, cocktails, or smoothies, but they sure had to blend one or two ingredients before cooking and they did.
Most of the blending tools used back in the days still exist and can be a great second option on days where there are no electrical blenders.
Do not be stranded in a case of lack of electrical power supply, you can still achieve your food in its puree form without an electrical blender. There are a number of things that you can use to achieve this; from non-electrical blenders to mortar and pestle, grinding stones, immersion blender, etc.
Since most of these things were mostly used before the 21st century, a 21st century born might not be exposed to them, or may even have seen them but do not know what they really can do. It is not also old fashioned to use any of these forms of blending. In fact, some top cooks today would rather use the other blending tools than the electrical blender. Some of them claim using the other blending tools connects them in a way to their ingredients.
To ensure that without the conventional blender or without electricity you should be able to prepare whatever food you want, we have compiled this list to give you knowledge of puree-making devices.
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What Can I Use When I Do Not Have A Blender
This method and instrument have existed for centuries and counting. In many African homes today, it is one of the most important kitchen appliances as there are meals they prepare using mortar and pestle that they cannot prepare using the electrical blender.
The mortar and pestle will do a great job in grinding soft vegetables and spices. Some chefs say that pounding ingredients in mortar and pestle gives them a connection with their ingredients and helps them cook better. These people would still opt for mortar and pestle grinding even when they have the chance to use the electrical blender.
They also are of the opinion that although it is more time and energy-consuming, the mortar and pestle grinding method helps preserve the originality of the ingredient’s flavor and nutrients. Most mortar and pestle are carved out of wood which makes them a 100% natural tool.
To grind things in the mortar, chop ingredients into small pieces and pour them into the mortar, then either swirl the pestle anti-clockwise on the bottom of the mortar, making sure the ingredients are getting crushed as you’re doing so, or you beat the ingredients gently with the pestle until you get the consistency you need.
You can blend both dry and wet ingredients using the mortar and pestle.
This is used to grind ingredients that do not require a completely smooth consistency. The Grater is unable to give ingredients the kind of smooth consistency a blender would, but nonetheless, it is still able to grind food.
Apart from using it as a makeup for blenders, grater has its specific kind of grinding for which it was designed. This grinding is called grating.
You would usually see people grate vegetables like carrots for salad mix or for garnishing food. The Grater usually has different sides for different types of grating. The smallest round size is used for grating things that would have been blended, for example, ginger.
Graters are probably the slowest grinding instrument; since all the job is with the hand, you have to pick what it is you’re grating one by one to grate. If you have to use a Grater for large quantities cooking then you may want to have more than one grater and one person doing the job or you stand the risk of spending the entire day grating your ingredient.
Graters are usually plastic or metal. To grate any ingredient, scrub the thing you are grating on the teeth of the Grater till you can’t hold it anymore. With the metal, grater comes high risks of getting injuries while grating.
Sieving soft vegetables to its puree form works the exact same way a food mill would work. The only difference is that while the food mill has provisions to press out the ingredients until it becomes pureed, with sieving, you may need to do it manually by using a spoon to do the pressing.
In this case, you can’t use just about any sieve to achieve your aim. The best one for this job is the wire mesh sieve. The rough edges of this sieve will help blend into a smooth texture whatever it is you seek to blend.
This one is coming as the last because it is almost extinct. 20years ago, it was very much in use especially by people living in rural areas who could not afford other forms of blending.
The Grinding Stone molded from stone in a bed-like shape and a smaller one that could look like a small pillow is used for the grinding. The stone is usually placed on the floor and ingredients are placed and ground by crushing the ingredients back and forth with the smaller stone.
Just like with the mortar and pestle, users of this form of blending claim to have a connection with their ingredients blending it this way.
The grinding Stone is suspected to be the oldest form of grinding, existing since the Stone age and serving purposes to its users. And although it is seemingly extinct, chances are the grinding Stone will exist and be in use till the end of time.
The grinding Stone is effective for soft vegetables and spices blending. The user will have to take a kneeling position while using it to stay comfortable through the blending process.
The challenge with the Stone blender is the injuries you’re bound to obtain if not careful while using it, and the chances of stone breaking into your mix. The stone grinder is usually made of smooth stone that cannot easily break out in pieces, but since it is stone and the blending is done on the ground, extra care must be taken.
There are many other ways to get your ingredients blended in the absence of the conventional tabletop blender, the ones that are super effective, and the ones you can just manage.
Since most of these methods serve different purposes, you should look out for the one that suits your needs to a good extent and make use of it.
Questions to ask when picking alternative to blender
Some of the questions you should ask yourself when picking an alternative to blender are:
What kind of consistency do I want?
If you want a blender smooth consistency you may want to use the manual blender or the mortar and pestle.
What am I using this ingredient for?
If you are using carrots to garnish meals and in salad mix, the Grater is the best option. However, if you’re using it as a mix in juice or smoothie, you may want to either pound it in the mortar or grind it using the stone grinder.
What blender alternative will give me what I want?
After you’ve known what you want it will be easy to also know which blender alternative will give you the result you desire.
Am I blending dry or wet ingredients?
For wet ingredients, almost all the alternative can go. For dry ingredients, you would be using the mortar and pestle or the manual blender. You can also use a Grater, depending on what it is.
How soon do I need it?
The time you need it will help determine the tool to use. If it’s an emergency, Grater is not an option except it is very little quantity.
What alternative to blender do I know how to use effectively?
Make use of the one you’re properly-versed in. You may also want to get help with regards to any of them.
These are the basic questions to ask yourself before using an alternative to blenders. Note that almost all the tools listed here are cooking tools on their own and could be used in preparing other forms of meals.
Make sure you can handle any of these tools properly before you try to use them to avoid leaving your food ingredients in a worse state than when you met them.