There is something about fruit blended confections that make me go giddy inside. I have to admit, however, that I am something of a smoothie snob. I can’t stand the icy barely there fruit powdered flavor nonsense that are sold at some of the “smoothie” places. And then! they dare to charge me an insane amount of money to regret digesting their vile stuff. So I just want to give everyone a few tips on making homemade smoothies, and some flavor suggestions that I absolutely love.
- In most cases, you don’t need to use ice. What!? A smoothie with no ice? It’s true, good friends. The trick is frozen fruits: instead of ice use frozen fruit. The only time ice is necessary is if you ran out of fruit and added too much liquid. Keep a ready stash of frozen fruit on hand. You can even freeze your own bananas ( I have a great breakfast smoothie suggestion for these), and possibly other fruit.
- Don’t be afraid to use juice! I often use 100% juices as liquid rather than water or milk, though milk or soy milk can work well too.
- No added sugar: Well almost no added sugar. Often, with the right choice in juice and fruit, you won’t need to add sugar to have a sweet smoothie. Another option is adding a yogurt. It often has sweetener, but also serves to add dairy and make the smoothie smoother.
- Make sure to have the right liquid to frozen ratio. If you have too much frozen fruit and not enough liquid you can blow out your blender’s motor. Which, as I learned in a sculpture class once, can mean a fire inside the blender’s motor. Scary stuff. On the other hand too much liquid will make a runny smoothie, where the juice and fruit. I prefer mine thicker, so I tend to walk a thin line when it comes to killing the motor.
- Help out your blender. Unless you have the godly Vitamix blender, you can’t just turn on the blender and wait for it to suddenly make everything smooth. When you start the blender do it in shorter bursts, stirring the mixture between each burst. If you are making a larger smoothie, as it gets going you’ll notice it’s doing a great job of blending the bottom, but not the top. With a long metal spoon (don’t use wood!) scoop no more than 1/3 to 1/2 the way down and rotate it up, while the blender is running (Beware of the blade, which is why i suggest using a metal spoon. If you go down too far with a wooden one your smoothie will have wood chips in it). Sometimes you can even just move the surface from the side to the center. My cheapo blender lacks the ooomf to do it alone, but with careful stirring it can do the job. If you don’t want to risk it, continue with the shorter bursts, no longer than 30 seconds at a time and stir between them. Never let the blender run for more than a minute at a time, especially if you have a thicker heavier smoothie.
- Clean the blender. Well duh, but the best time to clean it is right after you pour out the smoothie into glasses. Add 1/3 to 1/2 blender full of warm/hot water, add a bit of soap, but the lid on and blend it. Rinse out the blender and viola! The blending removes most of the food particles. Depending how much you use the blender every couple months you should do a deep cleaning where you take apart the blender (unscrew the blades) and clean all the nooks and crannies.
- strawberries, banana, and orange juice: This is a great simple smoothie that almost never needs any addition to be sweet. If the strawberries are tart you can add a yogurt (like strawberry) or add another banana
- Cinnamon banana: Quick and simple, use 1-2 frozen bananas, some milk, and cinnamon. I used to have this every morning before or right after early morning seminary (which started at 5:45/6am and went to 6:30/6:45am) during highscool. It was a great energy boost.
- Strawberry lemonade: Use strawberries, lemonade, and a few blueberries. The blueberries deepens the flavor and kicks it up a notch. You can also add some lemon sorbet to make it extra yummy.
- Strawberry, blueberries, and cranberry or grape juice: This will be a bit tarter, but you can add a banana or yogurt to help with that if you don’t like tart.
- Peaches and cream: frozen peaches and milk make this a milder smoothie. You can also add a banana, a scoop or two of frozen yogurt or icecream, or a peach yogurt for an extra kick.
- Multi fruit: you can really use any fruits but blueberries, strawberries, mango, peaches, and orange juice is a richer and sweet smoothie. You can add a banana if you like, but it really doesn’t need it.
- Mixed fruit: this was recommended to me and I like it a lot. Get a bag of frozen mixed fruit (usually contains peaches, grapes cantaloupe and honeydew), pour milk over it and blend away. If you want more kick you can use a juice instead of milk.
- Mixed berry: Get a bag of mixed berries or use strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. and apple juice, berry juice, cranberry juice, or grape juice would be great with it. Though I’ll be honest, though I love the flavor I can’t stand all the seeds.
- Strawberries: They are a great base for most smoothies, though can be tart at times.
- Blueberries: The can kick up the flavor because they are stronger, though when they blend you’ll have pieces of blueberry skin throughout. Not really noticable as you drink though
- Mango: Sweet and smooth. Good to add when the flavor just isn’t right as it can round out the flavors.
- Banana: Strong flavor, but adds sweetness to the smoothie, and smooths out the texture. don’t use a green banana, and beware of overly ripe ones.
- Peaches: They have a milder flavor and can occasionally be tart. If the smoothies flavors aren’t popping this is not the fruit to add, but if you need something to soften larger flavor I suggest this.
- Pineapple: Delicious but has a tendency to overwhelm and dominate the flavor palate
- Other Berries; Great strong flavor, but seeds can be annoying.
- Grapes: Add almost no flavor, just an extra sweetness
- Orange juice: bright sweet flavor that can really make a smoothie pop with yumminess
- Grape juice: Very very strong flavor that can easily overwhelm the smoothie. I recommend watering it down or mixing with a milder juice.
- Cranberry juices: Usually not too strong and adds a nice companion to smoothies. However you will usually be able to taste it distinctly. Rather than melding with other flavors it stand out.
- Apple juice: Very mild, adds little flavor, just sweetness
- Pineapple or pineapple orange juice: Oddly I could almost use this interchangeably with orange juice, but it will add a distinct pineapple flavor