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A blender that runs on milk and bananas

All products in the TerraPass store get tested by our staff. I was lucky enough to grab the Vortex hand crank blender as soon as it hit our shelves.

I’ll be honest. Before my review, I had low expectations. After testing, I was pleasantly surprised to find a well-made and intelligently designed hand-cranked blender that does a great job, and reduces carbon emissions. In the age of gas-powered blenders (don’t believe me? watch this, or read this), it’s exciting to see a well-made device that’s inexpensive and doesn’t require fossil fuels.

Our office is fond of — if not clinically addicted to — afternoon milkshakes from our local sandwich shop. After a quick run out for a quart of ice cream, cookies, bananas and milk, I set out to see whether I could satisfy our cravings without plugging in. The blender is nicely made with stainless steel finish, Lexan cup, and metal-to-metal interface between the crank arms and the blender. Yes, it’s made in China, but designed in the USA by the folks at GSI Outdoors in Seattle.

Set up was easy. A C-style clamp holds the blender to a table. Be sure to give it a good twist — you want the blender to be secure when you start cranking on it. Then I loaded my ingredients and cranked for 20 seconds to deliver a perfect milkshake. I used the more powerful setting, but a lower-geared setting is available for ice crushing.

My one gripe: the pour spout is not the best in the world. We ended up gently tapping the milkshakes into glasses. Here’s a quick video of our test:

The blender is, of course, educational and energy-saving in your home, but will really shine outdoors. Perhaps camping, sailing, or at the next tailgate? If you’re seriously gourmet, the Vortex hand crank blender is powerful enough to make soup or a sauce at your next four-course fireside meal.

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