If you're serious about your Thermomix, then the redesigned Blade Cover and Peeler is a worthy accessory for many time-heavy cooking chores, such as slow cooking, sous vide and peeling potatoes. While not all tasks we tried had outstanding results, it does bring welcome functionality to what's already a very expensive appliance. Like the Thermomix itself, there's a bit of a learning curve if you're only used to using a regular food processor for your food prep, but the instructions are comprehensive and include detailed safety information to help you get the most out of your machine.
Price: $69 (requires Thermomix TM5 or TM6)
How the Thermomix Blade Cover and Peeler works
At the heart of the Thermomix is the star-shaped blade that sits at the bottom of the cooking bowl and performs functions like pureeing, chopping, mixing and blending. Seasoned Thermomix users will know that the blade is constantly turning, even on low speeds, which can bruise food or break it down when you don't want it to.
The Blade Cover and Peeler accessory sits atop the blade, acting as a "lid" to prevent larger pieces from falling into the blade's clutches during tasks like slow cooking. You can also place a sous vide bag in the bowl, safe in the knowledge that it won't get mangled by the blades.
The previous version of the Thermomix Blade Cover didn't double as a peeler. This latest version lets you peel root vegetables like carrots, beetroot, potatoes and turnips by adding 600mL of water per 800g of root vegetables (note that depending on the vegetable you may not fit 800g in the bowl in one go).
CHOICE home economist Fiona Mair conducted a number of tests to see how well the Thermomix Blade Cover and Peeler accessory performs.
To begin, you'll need to make sure your Thermomix software is updated to the latest version (do this via a Wi-Fi connection) to access the peeler mode.
For our tests, Fiona also used another optional extra, the Cookidoo subscription ($69 per year), which lets you access relevant recipes on the control panel.
Sous vide test
For this test, Fiona used Thermomix's own Vac-U-Seal Vacuum Sealer Set ($149.85), which includes five small vacuum-seal bags. These fit two standard-size pieces of meat or fish.
She followed the recommended Cookidoo sous vide recipe for a medium-rare beef scotch fillet, which resulted in an evenly cooked, tender, melt-in-the-mouth dish.
Next, Fiona followed the sous vide salmon recipe, with similarly impressive results: the salmon fell apart easily with little resistance to chew.
Peeling potatoes with the Thermomix Blade Cover and Peeler accessory.
One major selling point of this Thermomix accessory is its ability to peel vegetables without a potato peeler in sight. It does this by agitating the vegetables in water over four minutes.
(Despite its similarity in looks to a food processor grating disc, it does not grate, it only peels.) The peeling method is not suitable for frozen vegetables or vegetables with hard or thin skins.
Fiona followed the recommended procedure for peeling potatoes and used evenly sized potatoes that were small enough to fit into the chute. She rated the result as "very good", with most of the peel and only 15% of the flesh removed. A few small blemishes remained.
While the carrots were peeled using the Thermomix Blade Cover and Peeler, a lot of flesh was removed in the process.
While Thermomix says you don't need to rinse your potatoes beforehand as they're "washed at the same time as peeling", Fiona found she did need to rinse them afterwards to clean off a frothy sludge that was left after processing the potatoes. Thermomix says this can be reduced by adding a little oil.
Next up we tried carrots, with less success. Due to the design of the Blade Cover and Peeler, it's best suited to more symmetrical vegetables such as potatoes. The carrots were shaped by the machine into an oval shape, so the peeler clearly took off a lot more than the skin.
The weight of the carrots before peeling was 570g, but after peeling was just 350g. This equates to a whopping 38% of the carrot removed! An old-style peeler may be a better bet.
We also found that the unit vibrated and jolted at times during the peeling tests, causing the measuring cap to become loose and liquid to splash out of the chute.
Slow-cooked chilli beef using the Thermomix Blade Cover and Peeler.
Slow cook test
The Blade Cover function serves to protect slow-cooked food from coming into contact with the constantly moving blades at the base of the cooking bowl.
To test this, we used the CHOICE test recipe for slow-cooked chilli beef. As the meat and beans were left untouched by the blade, they weren't broken up.
However, the sauce made less contact with the element at the base of the bowl than it might have otherwise, and was unable to reduce and thicken, so the resulting dish was somewhat watery.
As for the meat, this was perfectly cooked and tender, but the beans were slightly undercooked.
The temperature at the end of cooking was 87°C, not the expected 95°C. So although the results were good, some tweaks are needed.
"As slow-cook mode [on the Thermomix] has a set temperature of 95°C, it is possible that increasing the temperature may help to thicken the sauce," says Fiona.
How easy is it to use and clean?
The Peeler is useful for those with arthritis or weak hands and wrists, and is a definite time-saver for potatoes.
The device can be easily cleaned in warm soapy water, is top-shelf dishwasher-safe, and easy to assemble. As there is limited grip area when removing, care must be taken if the Thermomix was heated.
The instructions are comprehensive with detailed safety information.
Is the Thermomix a safe machine?
While the Thermomix TM6 is a handy machine that performs well and can be used safely, we still don't give it a CHOICE recommendation. Although the temperature cuts off when blending at high speeds above 60°C, the liquid inside may still be hot and blending may still occur if operated manually.
Is this accessory worth it?
Relative to the machine, the Blade Cover and Peeler is good value and can bring extra functionality to what's already a very versatile machine. With a bit of experimentation and knowing about the food restrictions, you should be able to get satisfying results.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.