Blenders are a benchtop fixture in summer when smoothies and juices are on high rotation. But before you put yours into winter hibernation, you might be surprised to learn there's a whole range of excellent, alternative uses for the colder months.
You can try them in a personal blender or, if you really want to turbocharge your cooking, consider a high-performance model that offers more power, features and countless more recipe options.
Whichever one you choose, here are 10 tasty things you can whiz this winter – from soup to chocolate sauce, pizza sauce to pesto, and more.
Warning: Always let hot foods cool before blending. Otherwise, steam can build up and dislodge the lid, resulting in a hot mess and possible injury.
1. Comforting soups
Nothing says winter quite like a steaming bowl of warming, rich soup. Try these combinations and add a dash of your own culinary creativity:
- Zucchini and curry powder
- Turmeric, carrot and ginger
- Creamy cauliflower
- Roasted tomato with sumac.
You can use everything from a stick blender to a high-performing model – all that will vary is the texture.
Even a basic personal blender can make a wide range of winter treats, such as hearty soups.
2. Homemade pizza sauce
Making pizza at home is such a great family activity. You needn't stop at just making the dough, either. Why not make your own lovely pizza sauce, too? Simply cook tomatoes with your aromatics, let it cool – then blend. You could even make a large batch and store it in jars for future feasts.
3. Pesto presto!
For a dinner that will have everyone lining up for second helpings, make a delicious, vibrant pesto for pasta. Of course, the classic pesto is always a winner, but you could mix things up by swapping out the basil for broccoli, rocket or kale, and even using a variety of nuts or seeds.
4. Winter tonics
Give your immune system a lift this winter by using your blender to make healthy, enlivening tonics. You can create body-boosting beverages using citrus, honey, turmeric, ginger, cacao and even mushrooms.
Just be mindful that if you're making a tonic with tubers, such as turmeric and ginger, you'll need a blender that can handle their woody texture. And be aware that turmeric may stain your jug.
5. Dips for chips
Take your party nibbles to the next level by making your own delicious dips in a blender. The possibilities are virtually endless, but you can begin with a solid repertoire of hummus, tahini, avocado or roasted-capsicum dip to get the party started.
If you want to get creative, a high-performance blender will boost your range of recipes.
6. Pancakes o' plenty
Give your arm a rest because you can make lump-free pancake batter – and other batters, for that matter – in a blender. This little trick takes all the effort out of the process. Just be sure to add your wet ingredients to the blender before they dry.
7. Nut butters
With the help of a good blender, you can make your own healthier, cheaper and tastier versions of peanut butter, coconut butter and Nutella at home. Requiring few ingredients and little effort, you'll be amazed you never thought of this before!
Smoothly (or crunchily) does it – you can make all manner of nut butters at home with a blender.
8. Chocolate sauce
Everything's better with chocolate sauce: pancakes, waffles, ice cream ... the list is endless – and delicious. To make your own choc magic, mix together some cream, water, grated dark chocolate, icing sugar and a couple of spoonfuls of hazelnut liqueur (if you're over 18).
9. Cosy cocktails
Blenders may star at a summer cocktail party, but they're also capable of creating winter tipples too. Get cosy with concoctions such as hot buttered rum, chocolate liqueur creams, wintery espresso martinis, and spiced tipples made with puréed pumpkin.
10. Healthy alt-milks
Dodge the dairy and make your own nut milks in your blender. These alternative milks – such as macadamia, almond, rice and oat – are delicious, especially when homemade, and are easy enough to prepare.
But note that while it's possible to make alt-milks in a standard blender, you'll get a far superior result with a high-performance model.