Wednesday, April 1, 2015

How to Make a Perfect Smoothie

There must be thousands, if not millions, of smoothie recipes and the list is getting longer with the ever growing popularity of this nutritious drink-cum-meal.

While there seem to be no limit to creativity, some smoothies taste better than others, and there are some that are definitely healthier than most. Everything depends on the ingredients used.

What exactly is a smoothie?

Smoothie is a blended drink usually made out of fruit or vegetable. As the name suggest, the drink has a smooth texture.

Contrary to common belief, smoothies are not a recent fad. The drink was already known in the United States in 1930s and gained popularity in 1940s when first electric blenders were introduced to consumers. The oldest recipes may have been inspired by the Brazilian vitaminas.

The word "smoothie" was coined by Mabel Stenger in a 1940 newspaper article "Let the Blender Do It For You." Miss Stenger also wrote a book "Electric Blender Recipes" that was published in 1962.

The ingredients

To make a smoothie you can actually blend anything you like. To make a healthy smoothie you should probably be more discerning.

A smoothie has two main components: a liquid base and a solid ingredient. Taste, texture and nutritional value can be improved with many additional ingredients.

  • purified water
  • coconut water
  • aloe vera
  • freshly pressed fruit juice
  • freshly pressed vegetable juice
  • nut milk 
  • coconut milk
  • soy milk made out of sprouted soy beans
  • raw milk
  • kefir
  • yoghurt
  • buttermilk
  • whey
  • kombucha

Solid ingredients:
  • fruits such as apples, pears, plums, peaches and cherries (fresh or frozen)
  • avocados
  • berries such as strawberries, blueberries or raspberries (fresh or frozen
  • citrus fruit (seeds removed)
  • tropical fruits such bananas, mangoes, pineapples, papayas, and mangosteen
  • melons, pumpkins and squashes
  • re-hydrated dried fruit and berries such as figs, dates, plums, apricots, raisins and cranberries
  • leafy greens such as spinach and kale
  • vegetables such as cucumbers, beets and carrots
  • sprouted nuts, seeds and grains
  • sprouts such alfalfa, mung bean or lentil
  • raw nut and seed butters

Additional ingredients:
  • raw protein powders
  • raw cacao 
  • raw eggs
  • ginger root 
  • turmeric root
  • bee pollen and propolis
  • zest from organic oranges, lemons and limes
  • superfood powders such as baobab, açai, goji, camu camu, maca, elderberry, or medicinal mushrooms
  • supergreen powders such as moringa, barley grass, stinging nettle, or wheatgrass
  • algae such as chlorella or spirulina
  • matcha (powdered green tea)
  • sweeteners - depending on ingredients used in the smoothie you may want to add some sweetener. Always choose sweetener that comes with additional health benefits: raw honey, blackstrap molasses, lucuma, maple syrup, coconut syrup, or liquid stevia
  • spices such as vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg or cayenne 
  • fresh herbs such as mint, lemon balm, basil, cilantro, or parsley
  • cold pressed oils such as virgin olive oil, flax, hemp, or argan oil
  • pinch of Celetic or pink Himalaya salt
  • ice cubes (especially on a hot day when you are using fresh not frozen fruits)

Blending ingredients is rather easy and does not require lots of experience. Start with ingredients you know best and gradually expand your repertory.

Use at least twice as much liquids as you use solid ingredients. Should you find your smoothie a bit too thick, simply add a bit more of the liquid you are using and blend again. Blend until smooth.

Always use ripe fruit and add sweetener only when necessary. Re-hydrated dried fruit can be used as sweetener, but do not put too much, especially if you are starting your day with a smoothie. Remember that you want to keep your blood sugar well balanced.

The tools

To craft a smoothie you need a blender, although a food processor, hand-held mixer, or even a juicer may be used with certain ingredients.

There are many blenders on the market and some are better than others. My advice is to always buy the most powerful tool on the market. It should have long warranty and the maker should provide spare parts in case you break the blending bowl or the blade.

Before you invest your hard-earned money in a blender of any kind, do some research:
  • visit a store and ask for demonstration
  • talk to friends who own and use blenders
  • visit manufacturers' social pages on Pinterest, Facebook or G+ and check if there are any complaints
  • ask the store about their return policy and other services that may be of interest to you as a buyer of an expensive kitchen utensil.

Once you bought your blender, read the user's manual. Blenders are very easy to operate, but I suggest you follow all safety instructions. Also remember to wash your blender after each use. Proper usage will prolong the life of your blender.

If you have never made a smoothie before you may need some inspiration. Many blenders come with their own recipe booklets. Bookstores carry ever growing list of recipe books and the world wide web is full of suggestions as well. The greatest fun, however, is experimentation. In no time you will be able to combine ingredients and whiz the tastiest and healthiest smoothies for yourself and your loved ones. Always write down your recipes and give yourself an honest note. In this way you will know whether your creations need any improvements. Remember, creativity has no limits!

In radiant health - passionately raw - Dominique

For more inspiration check my smoothie recipes: Passionately Raw! Smoothie Recipes

Dominique Allmon©2015


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