Smoothie making is so exciting. Not only do they look so inviting and colourful, but there is an almost limitless variety of tastes and combinations. By adding or changing a few simple ingredients you can create a totally different taste.
Most smoothies follow a few basic principles. Once you learn how to make a smoothie you can create your own exotic blends by getting creative with different flavour combinations.
The basic smoothie starts with a liquid base, to which is added either fruit or vegetables, or both, then a thickener. Blitz this altogether and you have your smoothie.
How much you use depends on personal preference, the ingredients and whether you prefer your smoothies thick or thinner. Personally I prefer my smoothies thick and creamy. They just taste so much better that way.
Pour the liquid into the jug first. This is essential for good blending. The blades need to be surrounded by liquid in order for the blending process to begin properly. The blades lift the liquid up and around the blender. This is particularly important if you don’t have a high powered blender such as a Vitamix.
Wash and dry the vegetables and fruit then chop into chunks. Chopping your fruit first makes for easier blending. Unless you have a top of the range blender, this is essential.
Add the base fruits first. These will give your smoothie that creamy, smooth texture. Good base fruits are mango, peach, pear or apple. Other good options include avocado, coconut meat, yogurt, frozen fruit or nut butters.
Then add the rest of the fruits. If you are making a green smoothie, add the fruit first then the greens and other vegetables. If you are using a regular blender, you may have to use the pulse button first to mix the ingredients before you start blending.
Add any other ingredients, such as flavorings, sweeteners or health foods as you wish.
Start blending on the lowest speed first for about 10 – 30 seconds. This will blend the solids and liquids together first. Essential for good smoothie making.
Then increase the speed to high and puree for another 10 – 30 seconds. This breaks up the ice and frozen fruits and allows the blades to chop the bigger chunks into smaller pieces before everything is pureed.
Your smoothie is ready when the liquid is freely circulating within the blender. All the ingredients should be combined and liquefied. The liquid will rise to the top in a swirling pattern and diffuse back down to the bottom. How long this takes will depend on the power of your blender and how full your jar is. But it can take up to 45 seconds or more.
Remember, if you over-fill the jar the ingredients won’t circulate properly and you’ll simply burn the motor out and your smoothies will be lumpy, not smooth. By the same measure, you need enough ingredients so that the blades are surrounded by liquid and covered with fruit and vegetables.
Now you know the tricks to smoothie making, but remember there are no hard and fast rules. You will soon learn, through trial and error, what works and what doesn’t. If your smoothie looks too runny add some ice or frozen yogurt. If too thick add more liquid. As long as it tastes great, it doesn’t matter.