When it comes to making smoothies, are you a pro? Top of your game? A smoothie champion? If so, congrats! Take a lap! If you're not quite at the top of your smoothie-making game, here are a few good tips for beginners.
A good smoothie is an easy and healthy way to boost the nutrition in your daily diet. A great smoothie does all that AND tastes amazing. Here are our top tips on how to make the perfect smoothie:
Always start with delicious produce
If you’re using fresh fruit and/or veggies, produce that is blemished, lightly bruised, or slightly overripe is fine for a smoothie. However, if your ingredients are seriously wilted and past their prime, your smoothie could well be in peril. Conversely, under ripe fruit is harder to blend and it lacks flavour.
Create your base
A good smoothie base should consist of:
- One ripe banana or 1 cup of “base” fruit, such as mango, peach, pear or apple
- 3/4 - 1 cup of liquid (low-fat milk or milk substitute, coconut water, or yogurt thinned with milk or water)
- 1 - 2 tablespoons of a healthy fat (nuts or nut butters, seeds, or avocado) *
* Soaking seeds and nuts in the smoothie liquid overnight will soften them and make them easier for your blender to handle. Just pour them, along with the soaking liquid, into the blender. You may need to add extra liquid if you do this.
Less is more
Use two to four fruits and vegetables. Otherwise, you might end up with a smoothie that tastes like the proverbial kitchen sink!
Use frozen fruit or veggies rather than ice cubes
Ice cubes don't add any flavour or nutrition, nor can they rival the satisfying mouth feel that comes from using frozen fruit.
Moderate the sweetness
Depending on how ripe the fruit you’re using is, you might want to add a touch (approximately a teaspoon) of a natural sweetener. If you're using very ripe bananas (slightly soft with lots of brown spots) you probably won't need any additional sweetener.
If you accidentally get it a bit too sweet, balance that sweetness with a splash of citrus juice.
Make green ice cubes ahead of time
Greens like kale tend to become stronger in flavour as they sit in the refrigerator awaiting use. As soon as you bring them home, wash them and give them a whir in the blender. Pour the liquid green concentrate into dedicated ice cube trays and freeze. Once they're frozen, simply pop them out of the trays and into a freezer container.
One cube equals approximately a handful of greens and it's easy to pop a cube or two into any smoothie that can use a veggie boost.
Boosting the nutrition
Two to four tablespoons of raw oatmeal or a tablespoon of wheat germ will add extra fibre. A scoop of high quality protein powder will add a healthy dose of protein to smoothies made with low-protein liquids.
Adding a scoop of a quality all-in-one powder can dramatically improve the nutrition of any smoothie.
Spice it up!
A teaspoon of your favourite spice or a tablespoon of fresh herbs can add a delicious spark of flavour to a bland smoothie. They also provide an impressive range of health benefits, including antioxidants.
Build it in layers
It's important to fill your blender in the correct order to create a smooth, creamy smoothie. The hardest ingredients need to end up closest to the blades to ensure they are sufficiently pulverized. The order is the same, but you may need to upend it if the blades are part of the lid rather than in the base.
- The hardest ingredients: unsoaked nuts or seeds, raw carrots, frozen berries
- Greens and nut butters
- The rest of the fruits and vegetables
- Supplements and nutrition boosters, spices
An alternative method is to blend the hard ingredients and greens first with 1/2 - 3/4 of the liquid. Blend them until nearly smooth, add the rest of the ingredients and the remaining liquid, and blend until thoroughly smooth.
This method allows you better control over the liquid, also. You're less likely to end up with a smoothie that's too thin.
Take your time
It takes time for fruits, vegetables, and nuts to turn into creamy goodness. Blend for at least two to three minutes. If you have an extremely powerful machine, you might get away with one minute.
Smoothies are best when they're fresh. As they sit, they might separate or develop odd textural changes.
Prepare 'smoothie packs' ahead of time and freeze them. That way you can still have a smoothie even when you don't have time to gather ingredients or do any measuring.
To help you get started on your smoothie adventure, here are three delicious smoothie recipes - and a bonus iced mocha!