Monday, August 10, 2015

Random Monday: Smoothies

Trying out a new font, everyone.

I'm not a big fruit fan. 

Now believe me, I've tried. I can handle the classics - apples, oranges, grapes - but give me a banana or a piece of cantaloupe and I'm going to recoil. I've just never had a taste for them, until I tasted a smoothie on the day of my college's welcome fair two years ago.

It was a strawberry banana smoothie, one of THE staple smoothies, and I was reluctant to try it but, to be honest, it looked appetizing. The smoothie consisted of only a few swallows anyway, so I got one (for free) and tried it - and loved it.

It took me a few weeks to realize, "Oh. I can make those." I got my mom's old blender down and dug some frozen fruit out of the fridge, putting together what looked good. Voila, I consider this to be my signature smoothie: the strawberry-pineapple-mango-peach smoothie.

Making smoothies turned out to be a strong point last semester when, for a business course, we created a business with smoothies as its main menu. I got to really expand my own menu by making new recipes.

There were a few failures - blueberry pear and apple kale weren't great - but some like mango pineapple were fantastic. 

Anyway, the point of this is that, texture can sort of change the concept of taste dramatically. Just because I don't like cantaloupe doesn't mean I don't like the smell of it. Maybe if I tried it in a smoothie I'd like it better. 

So if you find a food you don't really like, instead of condemning it, try it cooked or prepared a different way. A few weeks ago I had broccoli as a part of a stir fry and adored it, even though I despise it raw. Heck, maybe thinking of it like this can give a character in a book a special perk. Possibilities are endless.

Here's some tips for making smoothies:

1. Use REAL juice. Not V8 Fusion. I did for a while, but the smoothies were always so sweet it could make me queasy if it was a big smoothie. You can use water, too, but I personally hate the taste of watered down fruit. Watered down anything, really.

2. Freeze your fruit (unless you're sensitive to cold things). I'm of strong belief that a cold smoothie is one of the best things ever. Not only that, but you can't make a ton of smoothies and drink them all within a couple days. Freezing your fruit can give you months of time until you're ready to make your smoothie. 

3. Use ENOUGH juice/water. Otherwise your blender is going to have so much trouble chopping up your fruit, especially if it's frozen, and it's agitating for everyone and everything involved. I find that pouring in enough juice to keep it equal with the fruit prior to blending does a good job. 

4. There's very little difference between pre-frozen fruit and freshly chopped fruit. Sure, there's a feel of more 'authenticity' if you chop it on your own, but I personally have never had an issue with simply getting a bag of frozen strawberries from Wal-Mart and using that. It's actually easier when I'm in a pinch.

5. Remember that you can preserve smoothies for a couple days. For my class I made 4 liter-sized smoothies. For optimum time, make sure the smoothie fills almost all the way up to the lid to keep oxygen out, and make sure the lid is tightly sealed. 

6. When blending, blend until it's swirling like a funnel at the top of the mixture without any pauses or chopping sounds. This means you won't have any fruit chunks. If you want the chunks, just stop earlier.

7. Toss in some greens. Just a handful of spinach can do it. I don't do this too often, admittedly, but mainly for aesthetic reasons. Believe it or not, you can barely taste greens when you put them into a smoothie, but it makes it SOOOOOO healthy! I just don't like the color it makes my smoothie, that's the only reason I don't do it often.

8. Get creative! I haven't found a smoothie that pears work well in yet, but considering how good they taste, I'm determined to find something. 

Finally, here's the recipe for my 'signature' smoothie:
1 cup frozen strawberries, diced into halves
1 cup diced mango and/or peach and/or pineapple
1 and 3/4 cup of your choice of juice (preferably something tropical, I use an orange pineapple blend)
Blend until smooth. 3 servings - or one... 

Have a happy Monday!
I'm off to drink my strawberry pineapple smoothie. 

1 comment:

  1. Mmm, fruit. My absolute favorite food group. Went through I phase where I made smoothies pretty much every day -- always heavy on the strawberries!