Wednesday, June 2, 2010

falling in love again with my blender

osterizer hacks

Today's post was intended to include a recipe for a shake that I have been eating every day.  But something developed that I find even more exciting, and the exotically-spiced chocolate shake will have to wait until Friday.  It is postponed so that you may read of the newly-discovered capabilities of my old blender.

I bought a classic Osterizer during college for making frozen margaritas.  I'm sure it was used for other applications a few times, but the cause that led me to plunk down $60 at the local Target was making sweet-tart, icy, tequila-laden cocktails at home.  I chose this model because its metal base seemed sturdy and its retro, beehive shape looked cool.  It has a 500-watt motor and a simple, toggle control with three options: on, off, and pulse.  Alas, it wasn't proficient at crushing ice, producing libations of irregular consistency, with persistent, large chunks of ice among the smooth icy granules.

Over the ensuing years, I came to prefer margaritas on the rocks (could this dismissal of my mother's preference be indicative of my own personal development? Must ask therapist).  Gradually, the blender was used less and less frequently, and I confess that my old friend spent the past year languishing in the guest room closet.

In starting my vegan education last fall, a powerful blender seemed a useful tool to have.  Luckily, my mentor lent me a brawny model so that I could whip up thick sauces and creamy smoothies to my heart's tummy's content.  I used it frequently, forsaking the Osterizer and wondering how long I could wait before sinking $400 into a new wunder-blender.

Today, preparing to make the shake, I pulled out the Jack LaLanne blender... and also the Osterizer.  Frankly, I expected to start the process in the Ostersizer, then give up and dump everything in the JLL blender to finish.  However, to my shock and awe, my old buddy did an admirable job, blending ice, frozen banana and all into a thick, creamy, uniform consistency.

Here's what I think made the difference: a tamper!  I inserted the tamper from the JLL through the opening of the Osterizer lid to push all of the ingredients toward the blades while it was running.  So, before you drop $400 on a Vita-Mix or a Blendtec, you could try using a tamper device with your blender, taking care that it is the proper length not to make contact with the blades. *

You may be wondering about the bizarre appearance of the blender in the leading photo.  Well, it happens that an observant consumer realized that the Oster blade apparatus fits perfectly onto regular-mouth Mason jars.  I couldn't be more tickled, since I store my bulk, dry goods in Mason jars.  Instead of the two-part canning lids, I use plastic storage lids that can be purchased in packs of eight from many retailers.  But I digress.

By attaching the base of the Oster to a Mason jar*, the blender can effectively process small amounts of wet and dry ingredients.  In a quick experiment, I placed a small amount of rolled oats in a 20 oz jar, and a few almonds in an 8 oz jelly jar.  With a few pulses, the blender produced oat flour and almond flour, the consistency of each comparing favorably to the flours that I usually make in the coffee mill.  With this setup, the Osterizer essentially does the job of a Magic Bullet!  This is fantastic because Mason jars are inexpensive, come in a variety of sizes, and are easy to clean (i.e. are dishwasher safe).  How's that for a multitasking tool?

Which brings us to another advantage of the good ol' Osterizer: the canister can be disassembled, so I can clean the carafe and the blades thoroughly without shredding my sponge (or my fingers).  Replacement parts and additional accessories (including a milkshake blade!) are also available at reasonable prices, though Oster doesn't offer a tamper.

So, though my experiments are limited, I think that my old blender will be seeing a great deal more use in the future.  To summarize my opinion of the Osterizer:

  • Pros: easy to clean, powerful, all-metal drive system, affordable, attractive styling, simple controls, good blending ability when used with tamper, fits Mason jars for more versatility, easy to clean, easy to replace parts.
  • Cons: relatively small carafe capacity of five cups, gaskets must be aligned properly to prevent leaking.
So, if you don't care about pulverizing an iPad in your blender, you might give the Osterizer a try!

*The manufacturer does not endorse using a tamper or Mason jars with the Osterizer blender.  If you choose to use your blender in this way, it could potentially damage your blender, cause additional damage and/or injury.  The authors of this blog are not responsible for any mishaps that may occur.  Operate your blender at your own risk!

PS: I just entered a giveaway for Artisana Coconut Butters at Chocolate-Covered Katie's blog, and you should, too!


  1. Brilliant! I have an Osterizer, too (from the days BEFORE I dropped--ahem, perhaps a bit more than--$400 on a VitaMix) and can't wait to turn it into a Magic Bullet! But don't let too many people know, or Osterizer might just go changing the size of their base!

  2. Thanks, Miss Danielle. I entered your lovely self :).

  3. What an ingenious idea. I bet it's a lot more powerful too! When we got rid of all BPA-laden items in our kitchen a while back, the two things I couldn't bear to part with were my Magic Bullet and my Cuisinart food processor. You know I had to try the Mason jar on my Magic Bullet base after reading this. Sadly, it doesn't fit. But it did give me hope that there is another glass jar out there that will fit. The search is on!

  4. falling in love again with my blender. osterizer hacks. Today's post was intended to include a recipe for a shake that I have been eating every ...