Hey there, DinnerCakes readers! It’s been about two months since our last theme week (Rainbow Week), and Chef Edwin and I thought it was time for another!
I know people always say things like “I can’t believe it’s July already,” but seriously, I can’t believe we’re in the middle of summer! Because I was raised around the ocean, I think that for me summer isn’t really official until I’ve been to the beach… which I still haven’t yet. However, I think an ice cold fruit smoothie could certainly help me get in the mood a little more!
Like most things having to do with cooking, everyone has their own taste preferences. We’ll give you the basics of smoothie making in today’s post, and then follow up with some tried and true variations and new ideas throughout the week.
Something that’s very basic but actually quite easy to forget when making a smoothie is that it needs sufficient liquid – or else you’ve just got frozen fruit puree that you’ll need to eat with a spoon. If you’re a connoisseur of smoothie establishments, consider the one you like best and why. My husband and I are Smoothie King die hards, which we feel has the most delicious and thick smoothies, while we have friends who swear by Tropical Smoothie, which seem a lot less thick and more juice-based to us. Experiment and decide whether you favor smoothies with a milk, soy milk, juice, yogurt, or even flavored water base.
There are a variety of fruit combinations to try, so the most important question to ask yourself is whether you’d like to use fresh or frozen fruit. In my experience, frozen fruit is the best option for a perfect smoothie:
- Without frozen fruit you’ll need to use ice to get the cold and thick consistency you’re looking for. Ice seems a little like filler to me when you could just use frozen fruit to get the same effect.
- Frozen fruit is typically packaged when the fruit is at its prime. There’s no guesswork trying to decide whether the fruit at the grocery store is ripe or not.
- You don’t need to worry about checking for mold, making sure it’s firm or soft enough or making sure it hasn’t gone bad. When it’s frozen, you just store it in the freezer to enjoy whenever you like.
- Frozen fruit doesn’t need to be washed. For those of us who never have enough time in the day, this can easily save five minutes.
- If you have a Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s or other wholesaler membership, you can buy frozen fruit in bulk. If you can spare the freezer space, bulk is always less expensive.
- Frozen fruit usually contains less moisture, so it lends itself better to a puree than fresh fruit which may make your smoothie too runny.
As for what kinds of fruit to use, there are a variety of great combinations. However a staple for me is one frozen banana. Bananas lend themselves well to the thick consistency that I like best.
If you’re using frozen fruit, that may be all the extra thickener you need. If you’re using fresh fruit (since it is summertime and all), throw in a handful of ice cubes. Yogurt and frozen fruit concentrate can also serve as great thickeners.
As I mentioned above, my husband and I love Smoothie King. Maybe this is because, like most smoothie establishments, they load up their beverages with sugar and sweeteners to make them irresistible! You can recreate this in your own kitchen by adding a few tablespoons of sugar or, even better, simple syrup. For me, I typically try not to include extra sweetener and just let the fruit do the work… but sometimes I can’t resist.
Because smoothies can be considered a health food (when done right), maybe people take the opportunity to add supplements and/or powders. This can be anything from protein or weight gain powder, to flavor blends, vitamin supplements and fiber.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the most important smoothie components, let’s start off the week with a very basic smoothie – we’ll get more adventurous as the week goes on! This smoothie is not particularly sweet, as I’m only using a banana and blueberries. If you’re looking for a basic cold and refreshing smoothie with mild flavor, this one is perfect!
makes one serving
1/2 cup cold skim milk (substitute soy milk if you like a little more kick)
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1 medium frozen banana
Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until desired consistency is reached. Add a few ice cubes if a thicker consistency is preferred.