I am neither an authority (a schooled expert) on smoothies nor a smoothie aficionado (an ardent devotee). I am more of a smoothie connoisseur (a discriminating judge). I've tasted well-made ones and I've tasted not-so-well-made ones. I've tasted well-made ones that I didn't care for at all and not-so-well-made ones that I liked a lot. I do not concoct smoothies for nutritional value or health benefits -- I cook meals for that. I like my kale on a plate and my oatmeal in a bowl thank you. I do not drink smoothies for a protein fix or boost of energy. I enjoy swiping a finger full of peanut butter from the jar and the satisfying crunch of a good granola bar makes me happy too. I do not love smoothies made with dairy, yogurt or other sundry milky products. They remind me of dumbed-down milkshakes. When I want a milkshake, I'll make a real-deal one!
When I want a smoothie, I want it easy to make,
ice-y cold, full of bold fresh fruit, slightly sweet 'n tart, and,
just thick enough to eat with a spoon &/or slurp through a straw!
A bit about smoothies: Health food stores on our West Coast began selling pureed fruit drinks with a milkshake-like consistency back in the 1930's. In the 1940's, Waring blender cookbooks published recipes for banana smoothies and pineapple smoothies. Smoothies were popularized in the USA during the 1950's and '60's, when almost every homemaker had a blender in her kitchen. The first trademark came in 1970 under the name "California Smoothie", which was marketed by the California Smoothie Company of Paramus, NJ. In the 1970's, ice milk was blended in to create the "fruit shake". In the 1980's, smoothie bars began opening across the country. In the 1990's, the frozen yogurt craze took hold and it became trendy to add it to the smoothie. By 2000, the juice-smoothie business was a multi-billion dollar industry!
Smoothies are intended to be a quick breakfast that takes just a minute to make, which makes them a perfect snack for any time during a busy day as well. Smoothies are supposed to provide a big serving of fresh fruit to start your day off, which is why they are healthy. The classic smoothie (also known as the granddaddy of all smoothies) is:
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup quartered and frozen strawberries
1 frozen banana, sliced after freezing
The three get whizzed together in a blender for about 30-45 seconds and that is all there is to it!
... and I've strayed very little from the original formula. The key to making a great smoothie is to choose very ripe fruit. Most recipes tell you to chop it into chunks and freeze it, and, up until a couple of years ago, that is exactly what I did. Then, one day it occurred to me to puree the fruit first (which takes 35-45 seconds) and freeze it in ice cube trays. After the Memorial Day weekend, I had leftover kiwi, pineapple and strawberries. These frozen fruit puree cubes are going to make quite a few super-easy-to-make smoothies in three of my favorite flavor combinations: kiwi-limeade, pineapple-orangeade and strawberry-lemonade!
Learn my method by reading ~ Fun w/Summer Fruit: Fresh-Fruit-Puree Ice Cubes ~ in Categories 6, 10, 11, 16 & 20 or by clicking on the Related Article link below!
Freezing bananas couldn't be easier. Purchase your bananas at any stage of ripeness, but, don't freeze them until they soften a bit (at room temperature on the countertop) and develop brown spots on their skins. After that, peel them, place them in a food storage bag, freeze them and slice them frozen, just before putting them in the blender. For convenience, I usually freeze six at a time!
Also for convenience (particularly if I have guests and have several smoothies to make), I'm not one bit ashamed to admit to purchasing good-quality fruit juices to make my smoothies. When I have the time, I certainly do juice my own fruit to make my own OJ and "ades", but alas, it is not a perfect world and many of us just don't have the time. One-half cup of these store-bought juices add just the right amount of sweetness and 50-60 calories to a pure fruit drink, which is about the same as freshly squeezed, and I am just fine with that. To learn my formula for making lemonade (which works for limeade and orangeade too), ~ When Life Hands You Lemons: Make Lemonade! ~ can be found in Categories 10, 16 or 20!
3 standard-size kiwi, pineapple or strawberry puree ice cubes
1 frozen banana, sliced
1/2 cup limeade, orangeade or lemonade
Place ingredients in a blender and puree on high speed for 30-45 seconds. Serve immediately:
Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; blender
Cook's Note: I adore malted milk and back in 2011, my family bought me an official "milkshake making machine" and some soda fountain glasses for Christmas. My world instantly became a better place. In the dead of Winter, February of 2012, I started turning out some great shakes and malts. In the event you've got a hankering for a real-deal milkshake instead of a fruity smoothie, you can find my method for ~ How to: Make Great Milkshakes & Malts at Home ~ in Categories 6, 15 & 16.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2013)