Summer, my friends, is just around the corner – so here are my Ten Smoothie Tips to usher in smoothie season. You may think it’s easy to plop a few ingredients into a blender and press “on”, but there are a few healthy, fun and texture-improving tips I have picked up along my smoothie-making life. Here are my ten smoothie tips for summer!
There is nothing better than sippin’ on a smoothie in the sunshine. Well, first you need the sunshine. Then you need the perfect smoothie. Both reasonable requests. And with summertime just a month away you’ll want your smoothie skills to be well-practiced perfection! Get my tips:
Ten Smoothie Tips for Summer
1. Cubes with Flavor. It’s easy to grab plain water ice cubes from the freezer – but a flavor-infusing idea is to use frozen juice cubes in your smoothies. You’ll notice the flavor of your smoothie will be bolder. I also like to make coconut water ice cubes, and add them to my smoothies. It is a great way to add potassium-rich coconut water to your drink.
2. Just Freeze it! Freeze your own fruit for the freshest smoothie ever! And when adding bananas to your smoothie, it is best to use frozen bananas – if you want a thick, creamy texture. Make a habit out of storing overripe bananas in the freezer for future smoothie use. Just remember to peel and chop the banana first. You can even freeze other fruits like berries – when they are in season – and stretch the season in your freezer!
3. Sugar and Sweetness, Naturally. You don’t need to add sugar to smoothies! Just know what fruits and juices have the most sugar bang for their usage. High sugar add-ins: pear juice, bananas, grape juice, apple juice, pomegranate juice, probiotic-rich yogurt or soy yogurt. And if you want to add sugar – go with agave syrup or maple syrup.
4. Choose Fresh! When you can, use fresh juice instead of bottled. Making a citrus smoothie? Squeeze your own OJ. And if you have a juicer – you can even juice fresh juice like apple, pear and carrot for your smoothies. You’ll notice a flavor difference immediately! Plus fresh juice is incredibly rich in enzymes and nutrients.
5. Add an Acid. In cooking, you’ll often find chefs saying “it needs more acid” – well the same can be true for smoothies. Adding a simple layer of tangy, bright or sour flavors can bring your sweet smoothie to life. Try just a splash of: lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, kiwi, grapefruit juice, aloe juice and more.
6. Fresh Goes Last. And what I mean is, if you are adding in a handful of fresh ingredients — say fresh strawberries or fresh kiwi to your smoothie (as opposed to frozen)– add them last, and simply gently pulse the delicate fruit into your smoothie, rather than pulverizing it by adding it first with the robust ice and frozen ingredients. The only exception to this tip may be with fresh bananas – which I always add at the beginning of my blend.
7. Beat Blender Boredom! We all love classic smoothies like strawberry banana, citrus or pineapple-coconut-banana (aka, pina colada). Same-old can get boring – beat blender boredom! Try creative smoothie ingredients like: fresh kiwi, fresh mango, fresh blackberry, fresh young coconut (scoop out the flesh inside a young coconut), lychees, frozen seedless watermelon, tangerine, apricot, aloe vera juice or aloe chunks, spirulina powder, mint, hemp milk, kombucha tea, goji berry juice, fresh pineapple juice, fresh avocado, cayenne for spice, carrot juice, fresh ginger, zingy lemon juice, grapefruit juice, tangy yogurt and savory greens!
8. Store Frozen Fruit with Care! To retain the freshness of your frozen fruit, be sure to seal/store it with care. Use freezer zipper bags or a simple twisty tie to lock in freshness and prevent “ice-crust” on your fruit. Frozen fruit is an ideal way to add nutrients and flavor to your smoothie year-round, if you store with care.
9. Is a Blender a Blender?? What type of equipment should you blend with?? OK, so for many years I was convinced that a blender is a blender is a blender. And so I’d rotate buying a new cheap-o blender ever year or so. But last winter I bought my very first Vitamix and I am a huge Vitamix groupie now. So while yes, a basic blender will make a basic smoothie just fine – if you want to get into blending rock hard frozen bananas, nuts to make fresh nut butter, soaked almonds to make fresh almond milk – and more - look into buying a Vitamix. Prices start in the $400 range. But for me – it has been well worth it!
10. Choose Organic When You Can. Most of the time, organic fruit has more flavor and (studies have shown) more nutrients than conventionally farmed fruit. Therefore, when you can, always use organic fruit and juices in your smoothie sips. And you’ll notice most on-the-go smoothie shops don’t usually use organic ingredients – so that’s one advantage of blending at home!
Tip #11 – just added! I almost forgot one of my favorite smoothie tips – invest in a few sturdy glass straws for smoothie season. They keep your sippin’ nice and cool and you won’t have to buy those plastic straws anymore! Just don’t forget the glass straw cleaning brush too. My fave brands are Dharma and Strawesome glass straws – you can buy them online.
Check out my smoothie FAQ’s here.
Grab ‘n Go Choco Power Shake
Mango Acai Smoothie
Frosted Strawberry Lemonade
Peach Hemp Smoothie (shown below)
Smoothie Recipes on Family Kitchen
And here are a few of my vegan smoothie/juice recipes
More ways to cool down with Babble’s Frosty Summer Treats!