It’s hot. You don’t want to cook. The kids and/or you want something sweet in your mouth, pronto, and the temptation to pull into a convenience store, grab the biggest reservoir you can find and fill it with semi-frozen sugar water churned from a machine is running at a 99.9 percent chance.
It’s times like these where a little planning can save you and the family from catastrophe, not to mention the crazed state of mind resulting from sugar rush. You can easily make a better-tasting and better-for-you summer treat in less time than it takes to run to the corner quickie mart.
Homemade smoothies require only a blender, juice, fruit and your imagination. There are, of course, many juice shops eager to sell you their version, but more often than not those drinks are overpriced and over-iced. You can make your own for much less money, and you’ll know exactly what went into the thing.
This isn’t rocket science. It’s literally throwing ingredients into a blender and turning it on. If there’s one tricky part, it’s getting the right consistency and enough “frozen-ness” instead of liquid.
My trick is to use frozen fruit instead of fresh. Though I’m a fan of farm-to-table eating, this recipe is better with stuff from the bag that’s found in the freezer section of supermarkets, usually near the frozen veggies or ice cream.
Frozen fruit works better because it will provide both the fruit and the chill factor needed for an epic smoothie. If you used fresh fruit you’d have to add ice, and ice has the flavor of, well water. No flavor, no good. Plus, the frozen fruit has already been trimmed and prepped for you, and can be kept in the freezer until needed without worry of it going bad.
Aside from frozen fruit and juice, you can add supplements such as protein powder, just like at those shops charging $5 or more for these. I like to add a fresh banana for the taste and as a thickener, and a touch of heavy cream for body. If you’re watching your fat intake or want more protein, substitute a few tablespoons of yogurt.
Here is a sample recipe for a smoothie. You, of course, can tailor this to your heart’s desire. Let’s blend.
SWEET SUMMERTIME SMOOTHIE
(Yield: 2 servings)
- 2 heaping cups frozen fruit of your choice
- 16 ounces orange juice
- 1 banana
- 2 ounces heavy cream
- Garnish: whipped cream, mint sprigs
Step 1: Grab your blender and load in everything but the whipping cream. Put the frozen fruit in first and then the juice. Waiting a minute or two for fruit to soften will help if the blender blades have seen better days.
Step 2: Blend at low speed until slushy. You may need to stir and/or add fruit or juice to get the consistency you like.
Step 3: Add the heavy cream and blend one more time until incorporated. See how pretty that made it, too? Now Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and sprig of mint, and raise a glass to summer.
There you go: You just whirred up a homemade smoothie in less time and for less money than it would take to go out and buy one.