What is the best way to make a smoothie? I’m having a hard time getting the right texture.
Smoothies are a great way to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet, but success depends on getting the consistency right. As Lily Simpson, founder of Detox Kitchen, says: “Too thick and you’ll have to grab a spoon; too thin and you’ll miss out on the indulgent creaminess.” But while you don’t necessarily need to follow a recipe, Emily, hitting that texture sweet spot is a numbers game.
Cook Anna Jones, whose books include One: Pot, Pan, Planet, wrote a guide to smoothies for The Guardian a while back, and it’s worth checking out. “A good smoothie is all about getting the ratio right,” writes Jones, who divides hers into five parts. That is, you take a hero fruit or vegetable (whether greens, banana, mango, whatever), which makes up two-fifths of your smoothie, then adds an “accent” fruit or vegetable, which makes up one-fifth. Using frozen fruit here is a good whoop. Says Simpson, “It means you don’t have to use ice, which dilutes the flavor; bananas are a good choice, as they add a thick, creamy texture.” A freezer stocked with fruit also means smoothies are always a possibility, and it will help cut down on food waste, too. “Pineapples and mangoes are such large fruits that it’s hard to get through them in time when they’re fresh,” says Simpson, who freezes them into “small, bite-sized pieces to help the blender.”
Then the shakes need liquid: coconut water, apple juice or water for Simpson (“for 250 ml, half should be liquid, the rest soft fruit”), while Jones can add ice, cow’s milk, nut or kefir to the mixture, making the remaining two-fifths of your drink. “Finally, I like to add an extra kick of flavor, a smooth creaminess or a bit of balancing sweetness or acidity,” says Jones, which could be grated turmeric/ginger or dried spices, nut butter, dates or honey, and lemon or lime. zest or juice respectively. Similarly, Simpson complements his drinks with “a nice pop,” adding “lime juice to a berry smoothie, vanilla powder to a banana-cocoa smoothie, cinnamon to a coconut-pineapple smoothie, and lemon juice.” to an avocado with vegetables”.
Blending everything in a high-powered blender is the best bet for a silky smooth result, but if your tools aren’t up to the job, David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl have some tips in Green Kitchen Smoothies, from grating tougher roots (for example carrots, beets, ginger) and allowing frozen fruits or vegetables to thaw slightly before blending, until blending the leafy greens with your chosen liquid until smooth before adding everything else.
Lastly, Emily, remember that shakes can be mixed. If, for example, you fancy something more substantial, add oatmeal or try Frenkiel and Vindahl’s Upside Down Breakfast, where a banana, berry and spinach smoothie is topped with muesli and yoghurt. For four, add a chopped banana to a blender with a handful of baby spinach, 75g frozen strawberries, 75g frozen blueberries, 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom and 250ml oat or almond milk, and blend on high speed until make it smooth Divide 150g muesli followed by 250g yoghurt between mason jars, then pour over the smoothie. Top with chopped fruit, grab a spoon, and voila.
Do you have a culinary dilemma? Email [email protected]