Considering the Importance of a Blender Tamper August 05 2015
Blenders from Vita-Mix come along with a tamper accelerator tool, whereas Blendtec and Waring do not offer it. Officially advertised, the blending cycles of Blendtec blenders exclude the need for a tamper accelerator tool, and Waring chooses not to avail one to customers. Certain consumers however find it necessary having a tamper present sometimes. Others prepare their smoothie, purees, nut butters, creams, and soups with intent of using a stirring tamper tool.
While Blendtec is stating as a marketing type method that no tamper is needed, in various cases it is more than handy to have one available because if you do get stuck with your food then it is safer to have one than for example using a fork or spatula to give the ingredients a quick push-down to get the blending motion going.
Different names are assigned to a tamper, relative to its manufacturer, whether from Blendtec, Waring or Vitamix in this case. A majority of individuals refer to it simply as a tamper. This important tool is used for pushing down ingredients to the upper proximity of the blade level, but with some safe distance, to achieve accelerated blending process of content such as raw soup, puree, nut butters, or smoothie. Utilizing an accelerator tool moves ingredients forcefully towards this blade, which rotates at extremely high speeds.
Vita-Mix Accelerator Tool is made from a polycarbonate type plastic comprising a lid hand which closes off the hole formed inside blender container lid while in use. The tool moves freely in and out of the container. Downward action of content creates vacuum action which sucks it into the container as blending takes place. Vita Mix recommends that one use their Accelerator tool throughout the process of blending to expedite the action. Their so-called patented accelerator tools to vacate air pockets are almost needed all the time as per Vita-Mix advertising. But air pockets according to a lawsuit between Vita-Mix and Basic and its follow up appeal confirmed that Vita-Mix however was unable to successfully proof air pockets. One could simply add more water to the ingredients and create the vortex action. But you don’t always want a more liquid concoction.
Certain retro-fitted tamper tools are available in the market. Some blender operators also prefer using a plastic tool or wooden dowel for pushing down towards the blade in rotation to accelerate blending operation. As a result the tamper gets blended up and/or damaged. This could be due to use of an appropriate Accelerator tool with lid in place. If one were not to use a tamper tool appropriately with lid in place, say, for example a fork or knife, or even a hand, pushing down on ingredients that way in high performance blenders could lead to very serious injuries, amputation, and/or damage to the blender units and blades.
Blending Soups and Purees with or without Tamper
When preparing ingredients for smoothies or soups, water is normally added. A tamper may not be necessary to use while blending the content, if sufficient liquid or water is added to the other raw ingredients. A hollow cave area appears just above the blade only when excessive amount of ice is applied for the smoothie process, with the blender cycle turning too fast. Blendtec blenders like the HP3A or Total Blenders are designed with the versatile blending programs it operates, which eliminate the necessity of using a tamper, supposedly. It is “supposedly” because this claim is not always true. There are just too many variables in blending that could be the amount of ingredients, how they are placed, which one first, what consistency they are, what the liquid to solids ratio is, if there are some obstructions like large ice section, and the timing of the blender, the blender motor strength and momentum of turning and starting up, etc. Still, one may require some type of tool to push down the blending ingredients, maybe for stirring, maybe just enough of a push to get the blending action going. Once it is running, meaning you see all the ingredients cycling, the blades will do all the rest of the blending by themselves.
Less amount of liquid is used when preparing a pate or puree in a high-performance blender. One may as well require some form of device for pushing down contents to the blade level. Blendtec especially makes its blenders to operate without needing an accelerator tool or tamper. However, consumers report using cutlery and other equipment to push down the ingredients.
Especially when making nut butters (i.e. Almond butter), a tamper tool is mandatory. The nuts are too heavy and oily, so they are sticky, they just will not freely circulate with the blade turning action. You need to help it to move along and turn over the massive almond puree until it gets oily and is ready for consumption.
The Universal Tamper Accelerator Tool made by Alterna is a great device which fits into any blender jar. Some exceptions exist, like for the Ninja, which lacks the blade construction appropriate for allowing tamper-insertion. The Ninja’s blade is really like an auger that does not let the user insert the tamper. The universality of the Alterna tamper means that it literally can be adjusted and set at different height levels from the area where the tamper is inserted into the jar through the hole in the lid. This adjustability is important to make sure that the tamper will never touch the turning blade during operation when inserted into the jar. Different blender styles and brands have different dimensions from the hole in the lid down to the tip of the blade.
Acetal Delrin, the material employed in making this tamper is approved by FDA “for food contact.” As a precautionary measure, the 2 pieces of flanges (rings) are clamped around the location desired, fitting the tamper in firm manner, the location being the adjustment area that determines the remaining length of the tamper end that is being inserted into the lid cap hole, reaching down towards the blades. This keeps the low tamper-end from touching the blades once inserted through the lid.
The Alterna tamper can fit into Vita-Mix 64 ounce containers, the 32 oz jar, Blendtec Wildside or Fourside, all the Waring and Hamilton Beach blenders, and Kitchenaid, Cusineart, Oster blenders. You name it, if the blender has a jar with a removable lid cap and a regular type blending blade cutting unit, the Universal Tamper come universally adjustable in as a very handy tool. It is apparently better to have it and not need the tamper, than needing it and then using a fork or worse, your hand.
Wood tamper dowels too are becoming quite popular to be used as tampers. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to make when one has a drill machine. Just cut the dowel to length between 8 to 12 inches, usually a dowel with a diameter of 1 inch. Drill in a hole of 3/8” where the appropriate location of the stoppage cross rod should go through to prevent the dowel from entering the jar through the opening in the lid. This cross dowel will prevent the dowel ‘hopefully’ from touching the blades during the blending action. Otherwise, if the wood dowel touches the blades, it will splinter severally making the dowel unusable for future blending actions. Wood also has the likely tendency to absorb water and is therefore very insanitary.
Some people like wood better over plastic, because if by accident one were to blend in untreated wood into ones smoothie, the smoothie would at least still be somewhat edible, subject to one’s appetite. Of course if plastic is blended into a smoothie, you would have to through it all away, for sure. The Acetal Delrin material does not splinter much and therefore unlike with the wood and the completely shattering hollow plastic tamper, Acetal Delrin (POM) is a solid compressed high density material that will be rendered reusable as a tamper stick. From that aspect, and because POM has been used for food processing in food contact for decades, it is an ideal material for the food blending applications as a tamper accelerator tool.