After watching a friend botch a smoothie (what a waste), I realized that everyone doesn't know the easy way to make a smoothie. With the summer coming soon, this is a great treat for anyone on a hot day. Between working at an ice cream shop, and my own personal experimentation this is what I have learned. I hope it helps.
You do not have to spend a fortune to be able to make a smoothie. Many people buy tons of fresh fruit for smoothie making, and well it's just hard to eat that much fruit that fast. My recommendation is to freeze the fruit. If you choose to freeze fresh fruit, keep in mind that the average shelf life is around a month and a half. For those of you that prefer an easier alternative, you can buy bags of frozen fruit at most major grocery stores. One thing to avoid is any product that has added sugar to the fruit. Believe me it's for the best — health-wise and taste-wise. You can use whatever fruits you want in a smoothie, however the standby ingredients usually include strawberries, raspberries, bananas, pineapple, oranges, and mangos.
Apart from fruit, you are going to need juices — fresh or carton. I recommend Orange Strawberry Banana and Orange Pineapple. For the consistency, you will need ice, and some sort of ice cream like product. There are several options including ice cream, sherbet, and frozen yogurt. You can substitute out the ice cream for more ice, but it will not have the same consistency.
Now on to the smoothie making. Obviously you will need a blender, sorry folks if you don't have one. My average combination is about a half cup of fruit, full cup to cup and a half of juice, one small scoop of ice cream, and 3 or 4 ice cubes. Depending on your blender, you may want to put the ice cubes in, and run the blender before adding the other ingredients.
As far as fruit pairings go for a smoothie, here are a few tips. Never, ever, EVER put more than half a banana into a smoothie. Banana is one of the flavors that is very overpowering and if you are not careful it will be pretty disgusting. My personal favorite is a mango and raspberry smoothie with orange sherbet and orange pineapple juice, but there are limitless combinations. Blueberries, blackberries, and even a coconut flavoring can be good in a smoothie. I say coconut flavoring because real coconut unfortunately will not blend into a smoothie. When it comes to taste, go with what you like. Strawberries, bananas, and pineapple tend to create a sweet smoothie. Raspberries, orange, and mangos lean towards an acidic smoothie. Whatever your pleasure, experiment. Although, spoken from experience, avoid trying to use lemon in a smoothie. I love lemons, and their tartness. However, lemon in a smoothie, is like trying to drink pure lemon juice. I'm not sure what made me want to try it in the first place.
Consistency-wise again is a personal preference. However if you are aiming for a snack on a hot day, your best option is to keep it at a slush-like consistency. Smoothies can melt very fast, and hot ice cream is not a very delicious thing. The basic rule of thumb is that it should be thin enough to poor, but thick enough that it falls slightly in clumps. I usually blend my smoothie on high for no more than 30 seconds, although that will have to be adjusted based on your blender.
Finally, feel free to mix it up. If you are looking for an easy way to take supplements, smoothies are great. Whey protein especially blends well. If you want to try mixing in chocolate try it. The great thing about cooking — or blending — is that the sky is the limit. My knowledge is not the limit on what you can know, and I would never claim to be an expert. You learn based on trial and error. So get to experimenting.
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