Recommend this product?
A couple years ago, I politely suggested to my husband that a Hand Blender/ Immersion Blender would be a very nice Mother's Day present. Yes, I had seen some recipes that called for a hand blender, and was intrigued with the idea of being able to puree foods, right in the cooking pot I was using, instead of having to transfer the hot liquids to my blender.
Admittedly, I felt a touch guilty about requesting this item. In truth, I did not truly "require" this device. I already owned a blender, an electric mixer and a food processor. Did I really need another item that would blend food?
My husband chose the Cuisinart CSB-77 SmartStick Handheld Blender
Well, now that I have owned this item for a couple years, I am really glad I managed to acquire one that Mother's Day. This device is so simple and fun (yes, fun!) to use, that I will ALWAYS choose it over my blender, mixer or food processor, when there is a choice of appliances to use. It's fast, simple to use, and a breeze to clean. My blender and mixer can't say that!
So what are the details?
The main item is the stick blender, composed of two stainless steel pieces that snap together: the thin motor and the "stick". The "stick" has a very sharp blade at the bottom that is encased in a stainless steel, perforated shell. Thus, during regular handling, one's fingers should not easily make contact with the blade. And that's a very good thing! It is super easy to snap the two pieces together and start blending and pureeing foods and soups. And the simple button unsnaps them very easily, too. I like to unsnap them and store them in an old water pitcher.
The handle is reasonably comfortable to hold. I wouldn't want to hold it for a long period of time (it's fairly wide and heavy), but since items puree within seconds, it is not a problem. It's easy to press the large, on/off switch. Press it with one's thumb, and the unit starts up immediately. Lift the thumb, and the unit stops.
There are also three additional items:
A small food processor. They call this a "Chopper/Grinder Attachment". Just attach the stick blender's motor on the top of this unit, and you're ready to chop nuts, seasonings, onions, or whatever you need. By my estimate, it holds approximately 1 ½ cups, so it is fairly compact. With a diameter just over four inches, it is pretty easy to store, also. I probably ought to use this chopper more, but I admit I'm a bit squeamish about handling the blade attachment (even though it is on a wide stalk, so you don't have to touch the blade itself), when it's time to clean the chopper. However, this is an issue with any food processor, not just this one. So, I continue chopping my onions with a knife, the old fashioned way. I do use this item to make a very smooth batch of hummus, though.
The wide-mouth beaker. The 2-cup beaker is great! We use it to make smoothies, right in the beaker. Then, we either pour the smoothie into glasses, or sometimes drink it right from the beaker. It's wonderful that you can place the stick blender right into this beaker, and make your smoothie! It really beats having to scrub out a blender! The beaker can go right in the dishwasher, too, and is even microwave safe.
The third attachment is an electric whisk, but I admit, I have never used it.
How have I used this stick blender?
I have used the Cuisinart CSB-77 hand blender on dozens of occasions. Most often, I use it to puree soups, (such as Epinions member jenniferkateab's Black Bean Soup) right in the soup pot. I have used it many times also to make homemade hummus (thanks again jenniferkateab!) and smoothies. And to whip potatoes or vegetables.
It's really enjoyable to use. It's so easy to grab this from my cabinet, and it purees things really quickly! (In fact, be careful not to over-blend your foods, if you want to keep some texture).
The round, "shield" around the blade minimizes splatters and spills. It is also mandatory to keep the blade completely immersed in the food/liquid, in order, again, to minimize splashing. The unit creates a bit of suction with the bottom of the pot, but one quickly learns to hold the unit at a slight angle to release the suction. With just a little bit of experience, one will be enjoying using this device, with minimal to no splattering of hot liquids.
For safety sake, always, always always turn off the stove before using this device. You don't want the electric cord getting into the flames! Always stand back a bit, and be aware of the possibility of splattering of hot liquids. And don't ever attempt to touch the blade!
What about clean up?
Here's the beauty of the device. You can toss the stick half of the stick blender (in other words, unsnap it from the motor section) right into the dishwasher, if you wish. However, it is usually so quick and easy to wash this that I don't even bother with the dishwasher. Depending on what I've been pureeing, and how greasy it is, I either just quickly give the blade section a rinse under the faucet, or fill a bowl with soapy water and use the stick blender as if I were trying to "puree" the soapy water! That's a great way to clean even greasy food off the blade section. Whatever you do, don't try to clean the blade section by getting your fingers anywhere near the blade! Keep away from that thing!
Once the blade section is clean, I just usually use a hand towel to dry off the outside and let the two sections of the hand blender stay in its water pitcher (where I store them) out on the countertop until the blade section has air dried. Then back into the cabinet it goes, ready to use in the blink of an eye, next time.
Can it completely replace a blender?
Not entirely. A hand blender would not have the power to crush ice or deal with other hard textured items.
Can I use the stick blender with any pot or container?
Not necessarily. The stainless steel blade shield will easily scratch up a non-stick pot or a soft plastic container. Also, you will want to choose a pot or bowl with deep sides, to minimize splatters.
Do I really need all those attachments?
Maybe not. If you do not need the food chopper attachment, nor the motorized whisk, you might want to simply purchase a simple handheld blender, without attachments, and save some money. However, I would think that most people would at least use the beaker, from time to time.
This device is fun to use, does a great job of pureeing things like soups and smoothies, and is a breeze to clean. My blender and electric mixer have done nothing but take up room in my kitchen cabinets since I've owned this thing.
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