"Soup-er" Immersion Blenders

What are some of the best tools to have in your kitchen? Chefs tell Consumer Reports ShopSmart one that they can't live without is an immersion blender.

But what is an immersion blender, and do you really need one in your kitchen?

Chef Leslie Lampert is well known for her soups. She makes all kinds and says the key to her success is her immersion blender.

Lampert says, "You just put it in whatever size pot you have, and you can blend the entire contents of the stock pot in one fell swoop."

While Leslie uses a big industrial immersion blender, there are many available for home kitchens.

Consumer Reports tested six to see if the blenders are all they're cooked up to be.

Mandy Walker of Consumer Reports says, "To use these blenders, you hold them in one hand, dip them in whatever you want to mix, and then push a button to start."

Some immersion blenders come with a chopper and a whisk. So you can use them to mix smoothies and whisk eggs, as well as puree soup.

To test, Consumer Reports pureed soup and blended frozen strawberries and peaches with yogurt to make smoothies.

The most expensive blender tested was the Bamix Professional for $180.

Walker says, "However, it wasn't as good as the others at pureeing soups, and it was the lowest-rated blender."

And the Waring Pro Professional blender left behind a lot of chunks of unchopped fruit.

But Consumer Reports did find some winners and named the $50 Miallegro MiTutto #9090 a Best Buy. It rated excellent at pureeing soups and did nearly as well at making smoothies.

One good reason to buy an immersion blender-less mess. Since you're blending everything right into the bowl, there's less to clean up. But be aware immersion blenders can't match the speed or power of countertop models.

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