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Vitamix FoodCycler Overview

Straight to the Level

The Vitamix FoodCycler does precisely because it guarantees: heating, grinding, and drying meals scraps into fertilizer in six to eight hours. Is it dear? Completely, however in the event you’re seeking to spend money on a small capability countertop composter, it performs nicely and is simple to make use of. Simply pay attention to—and maybe print out—this list of foods not allowed within the FoodCycler.

I grew up with an out of doors composter: a re-purposed massive blue bin positioned beside our barn. And once I moved into my first ever, non-apartment place final 12 months, I needed a composter. (As we famous in our countertop compost bin review, meals waste takes up the majority of landfill materials, in accordance with the FDA.)

However my out of doors composting desires fizzled out when my mother and father’ compost—they dwell 20 minutes away from me—was completely decimated by a bear…a number of instances. I nonetheless needed to compost, however didn’t need scraps periodically strewn throughout my yard by a hungry Ursidae. (Though this article notes that compost bins shouldn’t appeal to bears in the event that they’re maintained correctly…so maybe it was person error on my mother and father’ half.) And, sadly, my metropolis doesn’t provide a composting program.

Countertop composters provide an indoor answer, permitting these with out (or with minimal out of doors area, or who merely don’t need an out of doors composter) to compost at residence. These machines warmth and grind meals scraps, purportedly breaking them down into fertilizer in mere hours. 

And whereas there are just a few countertop composters in the marketplace, probably the most notable ones is the Vitamix FoodCycler. However, alas, it’s $400—fairly the funding. I needed to search out out if the FoodCycler was value it.

How Does the Vitamix FoodCycler Work?

The FoodCycler has a paddle measuring 6.5 inches lengthwise, which spans practically your complete width of its aluminum bucket. When powered on, this paddle (which Vitamix calls a “blade,” though it’s not sharp) goes your complete time at totally different speeds, aiding within the FoodCycler’s three work phases: drying, grinding, and cooling.

Vitamix calls this paddle a “blade,” though it is not very sharp.

Critical Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

Through the drying section, the blade turns much less continuously and the machine removes moisture from the meals scraps. In line with an organization consultant, the machine heats as much as 158°F. (For context, temperatures attain 140 to 158°F in a business compost facility, per Cornell University. And at-home scorching compost bins attain temperatures of 130 to 140°F, says The Spruce. Cold or passive compositing is way cooler and due to this fact takes far longer to interrupt issues down, so it’s not value evaluating on this context.)

The second section(grinding) continues drying, however the blade turns extra continuously, breaking issues down. And the ultimate section, cooling, is “a security measure, to return the processed meals waste to near-room temperature, making it secure to deal with,” a Vitamix consultant informed me. I discovered the ensuing compost is barely tepid proper after the machine finishes biking. 

The Testing

I used the FoodCycler for six months, including scraps to it each day and operating it, sometimes, each three days. As for what went into the FoodCyler, it was no matter meals waste I collected that wasn’t on the machine’s no-go listing (extra on that beneath): eggs shells, espresso grounds, herb stems, the bottoms of lettuce heads, apple cores, too-old cooked rice, moldy cheese, berries, rooster bones…you get the concept. Periodically, I timed how lengthy it took for the machine to run a full cycle. 

I additionally evaluated how straightforward the FoodCycler was to make use of and clear (each by hand and within the dishwasher) and the way successfully it contained smells. 

The Good

The FoodCycler has an extremely easy management panel.

Critical Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

For starters, I like that the FoodCycler comes with a separate lid so you’ll be able to maintain simply the waste bucket in your kitchen and place the machine’s physique elsewhere, like a storage or basement. And it’s additionally easy to make use of: The bucket matches simply into the bottom —simply  line up the arrows on the bucket and the machine’s inset. The lid has a protracted, vast deal with that’s straightforward to grip, too. Its management additionally couldn’t be easier: A single energy button and panel that tracks which section the FoodCycler’s on, in case you’re curious. 

We all know: scraps aren’t fairly. However the appropriate is what the left appears like after its time within the FoodCycler.

Critical Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

What else is nice concerning the FoodCycler? Nicely, it really works. The machine grinds meals scraps into dry fertilizer in mere hours. I solely as soon as discovered that the ensuing compost was barely too moist—however nonetheless completely superb for placing in my backyard —and it was as a result of that batch had principally simply espresso grounds and moldy strawberries in it, which is totally not a greatest apply.

I used to be notably doubtful about it with the ability to deal with rooster bones, because it periodically makes squeaking noises (or, for lack of higher phrases, fart sounds) when grinding a full batch of softer issues. However, it did the job: the rooster wing bones I threw in had been no match for the composter and, surprisingly, it took care of them with out a sound.

Usually, I discovered the FoodCycler took six to eight hours to interrupt down a full basket of scraps. Its product listing notes 4 to eight hours, however mine was by no means fairly that quick. I discovered its run time coincided nicely with turning it on earlier than mattress or beginning within the morning to have it accomplished after work. It contained smells nicely, too, due to its carbon filter. I as soon as left scraps within the FoodCycler for per week and didn’t discover any odors escaping.

The Dangerous

The FoodCycler is a behemoth. It takes up extra room than my espresso machine.

Critical Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

Nicely, there’s no getting round it: The FoodCyler is large. It measures 13.5 inches excessive by 12.5 inches lengthy by 12.4 inches vast and, I felt, was too cumbersome to be a everlasting fixture on my kitchen countertop. And when you can, as described above, simply maintain the basket in your kitchen and the machine itself elsewhere, that doesn’t really feel completely ideally suited. 

Conversely, the scale of the basket is small. It has a 2-liter or half-gallon capability, whereas our favourite countertop compost bin is 1.3 gallons. This dimension bin even felt tiny for my two-person family. I think about that with a four-person family you may be operating it each day. 

It’s additionally value noting that there’s a list of things you’ll be able to solely generally (and will completely by no means) put in your FoodCycler. And this listing doesn’t completely correspond with what you can/can’t normally compost. For instance, it will probably deal with rooster bones however not pineapple tops. Anyhow, in the event you get the FoodCycler, I’d memorize or print that listing: It will actually suck to interrupt a $400 machine. (And generally “negligence” or, as Vitamix says, “failure to comply with the working directions,” voids warranties.)

The Verdict

The Vitamix FoodCycler does precisely because it says: It turns meals scraps into fertilizer in hours. When you have the room (it could be greatest housed in a basement, storage, or some such, the place it’s not consuming up countertop area) and wish to spend money on it, you’ll probably be proud of it. It’s additionally value noting that whereas the FoodCyler’s costly, so are its replacement filters, which ought to be swapped out each three months. Simply pay attention to that value up entrance. 


How do you clear the Vitamix FoodCycler?

The bucket is dishwasher-safe. All different elements are handwash-only or ought to be wiped down (not submerged in water). 

What’s the perfect countertop compost bin?

After in depth testing, we have now 4 favorites (from Enloy, OXO, and extra). You possibly can take a look at our full review here.

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