Emulsifier Vs. Blender
Emulsifiers and blenders are tools of chefs and home cooks. Both help to mix ingredients, but that is where the similarities end in a kitchen setting. An emulsifier is a food additive, a binding agent that helps hold ingredients together while a blender is an electric appliance that mechanically mixes or processes foods.
In industrial settings and laboratories, emulsifiers are a type of mixer used to produce “high-speed rotation and centrifugal force in order to achieve emulsification, the combination of two immiscible substances,” according to the Industrial Quick Search Directory website. The process may also use pressure to force substances through fine filters.
Immiscible substances are liquids that ordinarily will not remain combined. For example, if you attempt to mix oil and vinegar to make salad dressing. Shaking or whisking the ingredients will temporarily force them to combine, but they will separate soon after you stop agitating.
Food Industry Emulsifiers
Emulsifiers in the food industry, also called liaisons or food emulsifiers, are agents used to maintain immiscible substances in a homogeneous mixture. According to the Gillco Ingredients website, emulsifiers are used to strengthen dough and extend the shelf life of breads, help reduce the need for trans fats in baked goods and control viscosity, stability and mouth feel in products such as margarine and chocolate.
Home and Kitchen Emulsifiers
Home cooks also use emulsifiers to prevent mixtures from separating. Egg yolks contain the emulsifier lecithin and proteins with two important types of amino acids. Some amino acids are attracted to water while others are repelled by water. Since egg yolks contain both types of amino acids, they can act as emulsifiers, holding together oil and water to help create foods such as hollandaise sauce and mayonnaise, notes the Exploratorium Museum website. Other emulsifiers include gelatin, skim milk and mustard.
Blenders are kitchen appliances used to mix ingredients and process foods. Blenders can puree, liquefy, crush, grind and chop foods, and, along with a selection of functions, blenders offer a choice of speeds. Several types of blenders are available to serve a range of purposes. A traditional blender has a jar with blades fitted into the bottom, and the jar sits on a base that contains the motor that drives the blades. Ingredients are added to the jar for blending. These blenders are made to sit in one spot on the counter.
Handheld stick and immersion blenders are made to be inserted into foods rather than the other way around. These appliances are helpful for cooks who need a portable device as they can be carried around the kitchen. Immersion blenders allow you to blend ingredients in any appropriate pan or container. Immersion blenders lack the power of and cannot perform all of the functions of a traditional blender, but they are lightweight and clean easily.
- Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images