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Monday, August 18, 2014

Ninja Ultima Kitchen System

So, for years (like twelve, actually) I have gotten by with my large(ish) capactiy blender being a tiny, P.o.S. Cuisinart.

There's nothing terribly wrong with it... it's just not particularly large, nor significantly powerful.

And, honestly, I used it regularly for over a decade; it was just fine for things like soups or the odd beverage or some such.

However... it could never really do juice or smoothies.  And it just winced if I tried to crush ice.  Just not powerful enough.  Also not very big.

I know people who have a Vitamix and love it.  In fact, everyone I've ever heard to own a Vitamix, swears by it.  And from what I've seen and read, Vitamix's reputation is truly well-deserved.  It seems like a truly great product, and one of the best (if not the best) blender on the market.

But I've never been one to accept things tacitly, and certainly not without doing my own research.

Well, it turns out that everyone seems to agree the Vitamix is the most powerful and versatile blender on the market.  But I also found that there are several competitors that come very close.

One such competitor is the Ninja Ultima, and is the blender I picked up last month.

It sure is noisy, and doesn't have the most finesse, but damn is it powerful and efficient.  It is so powerful I can't imagine anything being more powerful... and considering the N.U. has eviscerated everything we've thrown at it so far, I can say that it doesn't really need to be more powerful.

I haven't done any direct comparisons with other models or manufacturer's so I'm not making any claims, but it suffices to say that I am quite happy with this choice.

The way I look at it is that it is as powerful as I could ever fathom it needed to be, it was significantly cheaper than the Vitamix (by a lot), and it came with a large selection of peripherals.

Included in this system were a surprising amount of cool things.  Rather than list them all, I instead 'borrowed' a pic from ninja's website, and because I'm using it to give them some free positive publicity I'm hoping they'll forgive me the fact that I did not ask for permission.  :)

Image property of Ninja® a brand of Euro-Pro Operating LLC

Anyway, you can see that that is an impressive amount of goodies.

Although I haven't had the opportunity to try out the shredding or grating discs yet, I'm excited to use them... I imagine that if they work well, I might even need not ever get a mandoline like I kind of always wanted...

Also not tried the dough blade although I am super excited by that too.

What we have used, and used extensively in the month we've had it only, are the 16 oz. cups with separate cup blade thingy.  It is so awesome to just assemble, blend, and eat a smoothie all in the same cup!

In fact, what we've taken to doing almost everyday since we've had this system, is to make up a smoothie for the wife, the night before, and then it literally takes less than 30 seconds to blend the smoothie, swap out the blades for the lid, throw in a stainless steel re-usable straw, and even rinse the blades and put them away.

Real cool.

I've also made some large concoctions in the big pitcher.

Depending on what you blend, you can choose to have the super-mess-you-up 'top blades' inserted (as above).  But sometimes you don't want these.  Surprisingly when making a large batch of smoothies, it is recommended to take this out for better smoothness.  Fortunately it is real easy to do this.  It literally just rests on top.

So, for really tough stuff like ice, or a LOT of frozen berries or something like that, what I usually do is leave the nasty 'top blades' attachment in for a few pulses, but then take it out half-way through, to finish it off with greater consistency.

Anyway... it's still pretty new so I've not tried it out in every capacity, but I have nothing bad to say about it so far.  Recently I made some homemade organic almond milk, and it was practically effortless.

It may not be a Vitamix, but it is really powerful, pretty sleek, comes with a bevy of attachments, and is very affordable.  It even has suction cup feet, so even when you crank it up to max power it doesn't go anywhere.

All-in-all, a very well-designed product.