Anatomy of a smoothie

Any­thing goes once you’ve got the ne­ces­si­ties in place


Smooth­ies are per­sonal. Some peo­ple like theirs so thick, frosty and burst­ing with berries, they verge on soft-serve ice cream. Oth­ers want a pourable, room tem­per­a­ture phar­macy in a glass. Whether you want a deca­dent poolside re­fresher or a healthy break­fast, smooth­ies are a fast, por­ta­ble way to get your daily dose of fruit and veg­eta­bles.

At its sim­plest, a smoothie has enough liq­uid to turn fruit into a thick, creamy bev­er­age. From there, it’s a mat­ter of per­sonal taste. If you like yours cold, try frozen fruit in­stead of ice. It will de­liver a chilled drink without wa­ter­ing down the flavour. Re­gard­less of tem­per­a­ture, a de­li­cious smoothie needs:

Liq­uid: Wa­ter is al­ways an op­tion, but for more flavour, try juice, milk (dairy, nut, rice or soy), co­conut wa­ter, cof­fee, green tea, ke­fir or yogurt. The amount re­quired will vary de­pend­ing on the other ingredients added.

Fruit base: These fruits add sweet­ness and make the smoothie creamy. Frozen ba­nanas, man­goes, peaches and pa­paya are good choices. Used spar­ingly, av­o­cado, nut but­ters and co­conut pieces will also add creami­ness, while adding a bit of fat.

Flavour fruit: These fruits tend to have a high wa­ter con­tent but are strong on flavour. Berries, citrus, grapes, kiwi and pineap­ple are ex­cel­lent op­tions to mix and match with your fruit base. Us­ing these ex­clu­sively will make for a thin­ner, less creamy smoothie.

Greens: Many peo­ple skip this op­tional ad­di­tion think­ing greens will make their smoothie taste grassy or bit­ter. If you’re new to smooth­ies, start with a hand­ful of the less no­tice­able ten­der greens and ramp up to larger amounts of the bit­ter greens.

Ten­der greens in­clude baby spinach, baby kale, cel­ery, cu­cum­ber, ro­maine let­tuce, leaf let­tuce and sweet peas. Bit­ter greens in­clude kale, dan­de­lion, mus­tard greens and arugula. Avoid broc­coli and cau­li­flower as they can taste foul.

Sweet­en­ers: If your fruit isn’t sweet enough, add a touch of honey, maple syrup, agave or dried dates.

Add-ins: Any­thing goes here. You can add pro­tein pow­ders and/or flavour en­hancers. Not sure what to add? Raid the pantry. Flavour add-ins range from vanilla ex­tract to fresh gin­ger, co­coa nibs to chili pow­der or any spice you’d put in pump­kin pie. Al­ter­na­tively, toss in a few sprigs of fresh herbs such as mint, basil, dill or cilantro for an un­ex­pect­edly re­fresh­ing taste. A ta­ble­spoon of flax, chia, hemp or se­same is a pop­u­lar healthy-boost­ing ad­di­tion.

Smoothie suc­cess

For the best smooth­ies with the least amount of work, be sure to: Put the liq­uid in the blender first.

Use frozen fruit for cold smooth­ies

Buy good qual­ity, eat-as-is fruit and veg­eta­bles.

Add chopped fruit and veg­eta­bles, not whole pieces. Start the blender on low and in­crease speed once the fruit has be­gun to blend.

Fixing a smoothie

Some­times our great smoothie in­spi­ra­tion doesn’t emerge from the blender as de­li­cious as you’d en­vi­sioned. If you think your kitchen-sink smoothie is des­tined for the drain, think again. If your smoothie is:

Too thin: Add more fruit base, some nuts or chia seeds.

Too thick: Add more liq­uid or wa­ter­based fruit such as pineap­ple, citrus, straw­ber­ries or water­melon.

Too sour: Add a sweet­ener or more sweet fruit like pineap­ple or grapes.

Too bit­ter: Add some lemon or lime juice. The acid­ity will neu­tral­ize the taste.

To bland: Add pinch of salt, a squirt of citrus juice or a smidge of honey. Of­ten these balanc­ing flavours are all that’s needed to take a smoothie from plain to per­fect.

Smooth­ies on the go

Smooth­ies don’t keep long in the re­frig­er­a­tor. They tend to sep­a­rate and lose some of the vi­ta­mins that make them such a wise choice. They can also morph. Left for hours, added greens be­come more pro­nounced and can over­power the fruit flavours, while chia seeds can turn a creamy smoothie into a gelati­nous mass.

For make-ahead smooth­ies, blend a big batch and freeze in a sin­gle-serv­ing ma­son jar or ice cube trays. When you’re head­ing out, just grab a jar or pop sev­eral smoothie cubes into a por­ta­ble wa­ter bot­tle. Once de­frosted, give your jar or bot­tle a shake. No ad­di­tional blend­ing re­quired.

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