Good morning, class. Today we will discuss the proper elements to crafting the perfect smoothie. For today’s lecture, you will need:
an array of fresh and frozen fruit
fruit nectar or juice
Step 1. Place your array of fruit in the blender. (1 cup of fruit per person)
Step 2. Add fruit nectar or juice. (approx. 1/2 cup per person)
Step 3. Add banana, fresh lemon juice, or yogurt, if desired.
Step 4. Blend. It usually helps to use the “Pulse” button a few times to chop everything up a bit, then move onto the “Puree” or “Smoothie” settings. You’ll want to continue blending until there are no large chunks visible, and the smoothie has a consistent color. You might have to stir it with a spoon between blendings.
Step 5. Taste the brilliant concoction and add honey to sweeten, if desired.
Step 6. Pour into a glass, add a spoon or a straw, and drink! Beware the brain freeze!
The smoothie pictured above and to the right had the following ingredients:
6 frozen strawberries
3/4 cup frozen pineapple
1/2 cup frozen mango
3/4 cup peach nectar
1/3 cup vanilla yogurt
Honestly, all of the measurements are approximate. But if you follow these rules of tongue (ha!), you won’t need to measure either. Once you’ve got the basics down, you can mess with the recipe all you want and get delicious results pretty much every time.
Smoothie Rules from a seasoned smoothologist:
The trick to a thick, cold smoothie is frozen fruit. I’ve seen smoothie places use ice, and I can tell you that unless you’ve got a Super IceBlaster 5000 blender, you’re not going to get the same results. Any blender I’ve ever used just can’t crush the ice the way a restaurant grade blender can. You get big chunks of ice and a watery smoothie, and it’s just not very tasty.
If you want to do a mix of fresh and frozen fruit, stick with a tried and true basic for the frozen team: frozen strawberries. A handful of those will give you enough texture to balance out most fresh fruit.
That being said, there are some fruits that I recommend only using frozen: watermelon (fresh is too watery) and pineapple (fresh is too stringy). There may be others, so if you find one that doesn’t work, try freezing it first.
Here are my tested and approved smoothie fruits:
peaches and nectarines
mandarin oranges (frozen)
cantaloupe and honeydew (and pretty much any melon)
Some fruits I’ve tested and do NOT recommend:
grapes (the skin just doesn’t work well with the blender)
apples (not the right texture)
*Every smoothie place always puts bananas in their smoothies! That’s fine, but I find that bananas generally overpower the homemade smoothies, so I usually leave it out. I still throw one in sometimes, but there’s no rule that says a smoothie must contain bananas! Mix it up!
I generally stay away from the regular juice (welch’s, minute maid, etc.), because they don’t really taste like fruit, and that kind of defeats the purpose of a smoothie. I prefer fruit nectars, which are made from fruit purees.
I’ve used Jumex, Valle and Kern’s fruit nectar, and they’re all relatively the same, so I usually go with whatever is cheapest (which is usually Jumex). Jumex and Valle have a wider variety than Kern’s- strawberry, papaya, guava, tamarind, and on and on… all of them are really good. My favorites are peach, mango, guava, pineapple, tamarind and guanabana. You really can’t go wrong with the stuff. It’s also fantastic mixed with iced tea or lemonade.
If you don’t have nectar on hand, and you’re dying for a smoothie, the two best alternatives are orange juice or lemonade. You can use regular juice if that’s all you’ve got, but the nectar is really part of the key to a great smoothie.
YOGURT + extras
I prefer Stonyfield Farm’s fat free or low fat vanilla yogurt. I usually steer clear of anything marked “fat free” or “low fat”, or even “yogurt”, but this stuff is tasty. If you’re feeling extra sassy, try a flavored yogurt.
As far as sweetening, I find that with the nectar and most fruits, I don’t need to add any honey. I recommend adding the honey after the initial blending because 1. you’ll have a better idea of how much to add after you’ve tasted it first, and 2. honey + chunks of frozen fruit don’t mix. You’ll get a nice wad of congealed honey on the bottom of the blender.
Once you’ve got these down, go wild. Throw in a spring of fresh mint, try vanilla ice cream or fruit sorbet instead of yogurt, pour in some coconut milk… you won’t know until you try!
That concludes our class for the day. Test on Monday!