Finding a blender up to the challenge

FRESNO, Calif.

Blenders can do a lot more these days than just, well, blend. Some chop and grate food; others make juice, or even 'blend and cook soup.'

Consumer Reports tested nearly 50 blenders to find the best.

Included in the tests -- one from celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, and his infomercial product.

Testers crushed ice, grated cheese, and puréed soup to see how well each blender performs. To size up how well a blender makes iced drinks, Consumer Reports mixed up piña coladas -- no alcohol of course.

Sensory panelists evaluate the drinks for smoothness and texture.

Ice is also used to see how durable a blender is. Testers place ice cubes without any liquid into a blender and run it on high for one minute. They shut it off for seven minutes, then repeat the test. They do that 45 times.

"This test proved especially tough for several of the blenders, including the lowest-rated Wolfgang Puck," said Bob Markovich with Consumer Reports.

Two samples of the Wolfgang Puck failed during the ice durability test.

When all the tests were done, Consumer Reports recommends several blenders, including a $100 Kitchenaid. It whipped up smooth, icy drinks and scored excellent for grating and puréeing.

Even better - The Ninja Master Prep. It not only grated, puréed, and served up smooth icy drinks, it's also a top-performing food chopper. And at $60, it's a Consumer Reports best buy.

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