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Get serious about homemade soup. Buy yourself an immersion blender.

Immersion blenders are one of those funny kitchen tools that, if you have one, you love it, but rarely do people think “you know what I really need? An immersion blender.” But here’s the thing: there are a few times when you do really need an immersion blender. Even if you only pull it out of the cupboard four times a year, it’s well worth the $30 you’ll spend on one. And I guarantee you’ll use it more than four times a year.

Immersion blenders are basically tiny blender blades stuck on the bottom of a stick. Immerse the blades into any mixture, turn it on, move it around, and voila! Everything gets chopped up and blended together. Ever seen a cooking show in which someone pours something hot into a blender, turns it on, and the hot stuff flies out of the blender making a mess? Yeah. You don’t want that to be you. So buy an immersion blender, skip the mess, and get straight to your final product.

Here are some things I make with my immersion blender. You may find even more uses for yours!

ShutterstockSoups

Autumn is soup season, with many varieties of squash and apples and root vegetables available fresh and ready for cooking. Making smooth soups are infinitely easier with an immersion blender. Cook up your carrots or butternut squash or lentils in a large pot on the stove, then use an immersion blender to make your soup as smooth or as chunky as you want.

Applesauce

Save yourself some prep time by cooking up your apples peel and all. The peels contain all kinds of vitamins, and also can make your applesauce beautifully rosy pink. After your apples have cooked down, use an immersion blender to chop up the peels and smooth everything out. You’ll get your vitamin boost without a noticeable difference in final texture.

Gravy

With the holidays approaching, consider using an immersion blender to make your gravy smooth without pulling your strainer out of the cupboard. Take all your pan drippings and add them to your roux, blend it together with your new kitchen tool, and you’ll have delicious gravy with a lot less work.

ShutterstockIndividual Smoothies

When I use my regular blender, I inevitably make way more smoothie than I had planned. By putting ingredients into a single-serving size cup (I like large-mouth mason jars), I can throw my immersion blender into the cup and have an instant smoothie, just the size I want.

Tomato Sauce

If you like homemade tomato sauce, an immersion blender can again save dishes and stress. Smooth out that sauce without having to use your muscles and a wooden spoon to break down the hot tomatoes. Simply throw your blender into your pot and sauce it up.

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