A blender, or liquidiser in
British English, is a kitchen applianceused to mix ingredients or pureefood. The term typically refers to a stationary, upright electrical device, which is to be distinguished from a hand-powered or electric mixerthat may be used for similar purposes. Blenders are also used in laboratoryapplications.
The blending container can be made of
glass, plastic, or stainless steel, and often has graduated markings for approximate measuring purposes. At the top of the container is a lid to prevent ingredients from escaping during operation. At the bottom is a blade assembly, sometimes removable for cleaning purposes. In cases where the blades are removable, the container should have an o-ringbetween the body of the container and the base to seal the container and prevent the contents from leaking.
The container rests upon a base that contains a motor for turning the blade assembly and has controls on its surface. Most modern blenders offer a number of possible speeds. Low-powered blenders require some liquid to be added for the blender to operate correctly. This is because the liquid is used to move the solids around the jar and bring it in contact with the blade as the "whirlpool" fluid movement brings items from the top to the bottom. High-powered blenders are capable of milling grains and crushing ice without such assistance.
Another type of blender is the
immersion blender. This has no container of its own, but instead has a mixing head with blades that can be immersed in a pot of soup, for example.
Some of the functions of blenders have been taken over by
food processors. In particular, thicker mixtures such as mayonnaiseand hummusare easier to make in food processors.
Blenders are used both in home and commercial kitchens for various purposes:
* to mix and crush ice in
cocktails such as the Zombie, Piña Colada and frozen margaritas
* to crush ice and other ingredients in non-alcoholic drinks such as
Frappucinos and smoothies
* to emulsify mixtures
* to make smooth
purées of semi-solid ingredients, such as cooked vegetables and meat
* to reduce small solids such as spices and seeds to powder or
* to blend mixtures of powders, granules, and/or liquids thoroughly
* to help dissolve solids into liquids
Blenders also have a variety of applications in
microbiologyand food science. In addition to standard food-type blenders, there is a variety of other configurations of blender for laboratories.
It is popularly believed Dr. Oliver Johnson Schofield, an English engineer and entrepreneur, invented the first electric blender in 1921, however Stephen J. Poplawski, owner of the Stevens Electric Company, patented the drink mixer in 1922 to make
Horlicksmalted milk shakes at soda fountains. He also introduced the liquefier blender in 1922. [ [http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blblender.htm Blender - The History of the Blender ] ] Stevens Electric was sold to Oster Manufacturing, a manufacturer of barber equipment, in 1946. Oster commercialized the liquefier blender under the trademark"Osterizer". Oster was bought by Sunbeam Productsin 1960. [Information from the Oster site; now only available at the [http://188.8.131.52/search?q=cache:t-wT_if2rhEJ:www.oster.com/history.aspx+site:www.oster.com+1924&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us Google cache] .]
In 1935, Fred Osius invented another kind of blender. He approached
Fred Waring, a popular musician who financed and promoted the "Miracle Mixer", which was commercialized in 1937 by Waring Products[ [http://www.foodreference.com/html/art-waring_blender-801.html Orchestra Leader Fred Waring and the Waring Blender] at foodreference.com. They credit [http://waringproducts.com Waring Products' web site] , but the content is no longer available there] , now part of Conair. Waring popularized the smoothiein the 1940s. Waring long used the spelling "blendor" for its product.
With the rising popularity of
smoothies, Frappucinos and other frozen drinks prepared in front of the customer, new models of commercial blenders often include a sound-reducing enclosures and computerized controls.
Specialised blenders for making smoothies are becoming popular, chiefly resembling an ordinary model with a
spigotadded for quick serving. Some models also feature a gimballed stirring rod mounted on the lid, constructed so that mixtures can be stirred whilst the machine is running with no chance of the stirrer fouling the blades.
A blender consists of a housing, motor, blades, and food container. A fan-cooled
electric motoris secured into the housing by way of vibration dampeners, and a small output shaft penetrates the upper housing and meshes with the blade assembly. Usually, a small rubber washer provides a seal around the output shaft to prevent liquid from entering the motor. Most blenders today have multiple speeds.
List of food preparation utensils
Will It Blend?, an advertising campaign for Blendtec blenders
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