This Vitamix Totally Changed My Point of View on Composting (No, It’s Not a Blender!)
I am the first to admit that I was reluctant to start composting. But I develop recipes for a living, so I cook more than the average person and generate more food scraps than the typical household. And when my husband and I closed on our first home together, it came with space to start a garden and plant fruit trees, so making our own nutrient-rich compost was a logical step.
I’ve always been good about separating my recycling from my garbage, and trying to minimize what ends up in landfills, but I imagined a countertop compost bin would turn my kitchen into a stinky, buggy mess. My husband, on the other hand, was so excited to start composting that he assembled our outdoor compost bin the same day we signed the closing paperwork. It was hard to argue the benefits of composting (and hard to resist my husband’s endearing eagerness), so I got on the bandwagon.
What’s So Great About the Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50?
We (or, rather, my husband) set up a large compost bin outside for a majority of our composting needs, and decided on using the Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 to help with the volume we were composting — testing recipes for work means a lot of food scraps!
As a huge fan of my Vitamix blender, I didn’t understand why a brand so well-known for their iconic blenders would get into the composting business, but when I saw the design, it began to make sense. The countertop appliance dries, then grinds food waste into a powdery substance that you mix into your compost pile or soil. Instead of simply dumping our food scraps outside into the large compost bin, this appliance significantly reduces the volume of the scraps and begins the process of breaking it down into usable compost. That same power and efficiency that I love about my blender translates quite well to the grinding and processing of food waste.
Kitchn’s Shopping Director, Jada Wong, has been using her FoodCycler for almost three years, too. “I’m not a recipe developer, but I somehow seem to create just as many food scraps to run the machine every night,” she said. In goes the odds and ends of fruit and vegetables (and the occasional leftovers), and out comes a dry powder that she mixes into her indoor plants and garden soil as fertilizer.
How Do You Use the Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50?
I was immediately impressed by the complete lack of food odors as I collected scraps and then ran the machine. While cooking, I simply keep the two-liter bucket nearby and drop the scraps right in there as I work. The air-tight lid has a carbon filter to keep any unpleasant smells out, and we have never attracted any unwanted critters by having this on our countertop.
By the end of the day, the bucket is usually quite full and we run it at night while we are asleep. In the morning, it’s fun to see what magic happened overnight, and the difference from when you closed the lid to when you open it is quite astounding. While the result is not technically compost, it can be mixed into soil as a fertilizer or added to an existing compost pile, which is what we do. Once that whole mixture has turned into real compost, we’ll use it to feed our garden and newly planted fruit trees.
How Do You Clean the Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50?
You can rinse out the bucket or put it in the dishwasher, although once the machine turns all those scraps into powder, there’s not much to clean. However, some shoppers have complained that the appliance is messy and hard to clean, particularly when used with a lot of moist food scraps. We’ve found that if we start by putting our morning coffee grounds in the bottom and layer on whatever food scraps accumulate during the day on top, they act as a natural abrasive during the drying and grinding process. So for us, this has never been an issue.
How Much Space Does the Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 Take?
If you’re considering composting with the FoodCycler, you’ll need to consider things. First is the size and how much space it’ll take up on your countertop. I would say it’s about the same size and shape as a bread machine, and it uses up about one cubic foot of space. Also, you will need to find a location near a power outlet.
How Much Does the Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 Cost?
Then there’s the cost to consider. This appliance is certainly an investment at almost $400 at retail price, although you’ll find it on sale right now for around $340. It’s no secret that the Vitamix blenders are also investment pieces as well, so be prepared to dig deep.
However, in my experience, the technology and longevity that Vitamix offers across the board is so superior to other brands, that the upfront investment pays off over time. I’ve been using the FoodCycler for six months, while Wong has had hers for three years. I’ve used my blender daily for more than 10 years and it still works like a champ, so I look forward to saying the same thing about this FoodCycler years down the line.
All in all, if composting is something that’s important to you and you’re short on outdoor space for a large bin (or like us, you want to give your compost a head-start), the Vitamix FoodCycler is a fantastic solution that delivers usable compost materials without any mess, odors, or bugs.
Buy: Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50, $339.95 (originally $399.95)