Few food items have experienced the surge in popularity over the last several decades as the smoothie. What was once considered a strange concept has given way to a variety of uses and types, as well as numerous chains and products all across the United States.
It’s hard to visit a city and not encounter several different smoothie shops, or at least a cafe or two that offers them. America has fallen in love with smoothies, and the love affair is here to stay.
What is a Smoothie?
Smoothies can be defined as a beverage that is made from the blending of fruits and vegetables, and also any number of added ingredients. All of the ingredients are placed in a high powered blender, where they are then liquified together.
The smoothie’s roots can be traced back to the 1930’s during the inception of the electric blender. Health food stores began selling smoothies not too soon after, and the smoothie’s popularity steadily increased. In 1973, Smoothie King made its debut, and went on to open several locations across the country, furthering popularity.
Smoothies are still enjoyed at various locations across the country, and are still increasing in popularity at home. With just a blender and a few ingredients, anyone can make delicious and often healthy smoothies whenever they like.
Benefits of Smoothies
Smoothies offer a number of benefits, ranging from nutrition to their portability. Here are just a few examples.
Not everyone has time to make a well-rounded breakfast in the morning. Smoothies give you the opportunity to combine any number of ingredients into one beverage, allowing you to get several different foods all at one time, in a convenient and portable way.
Smoothies aren’t only for breakfast, however. They can be enjoyed at any time of day, and can also include vegetables, different juices, and even nuts. Smoothies are about as versatile as you can get, with endless possibilities. If you find yourself in a hurry, and need a filling meal, a smoothie can be a lifesaver.
Easy to Make
Making a smoothie doesn’t require any kind of culinary skill whatsoever. It’s literally as simple as adding in the required ingredients, pushing a button, and pouring. That’s it. If you’re someone who is a bit lacking in the cooking skills area, a smoothie provides you with the opportunity to make something with complex flavor, with little effort.
Simple Way to Get Vitamins and Minerals
Making a healthy smoothie only requires knowing what goes in it. Since you can evenly combine all the ingredients, a smoothie is a simple and easy avenue for getting sufficient doses of a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. You can add as many ingredients as you want, and receive the nutritional benefits.
Types of Smoothies
Although there are countless smoothie recipes, they can all usually be classified into three distinct types.
This one is pretty obvious. Fruit smoothies contain various fruits as a base, and often include milk, yogurt, and other fruit juices as well.
Green smoothies refer to any kind of smoothie that has vegetables in it. These smoothies often consist of a base of at least 40% vegetables, which usually includes leafy greens such as kale, spinach, chard, celery, parsley, and collard greens.
Some of these greens are bitter in flavor, but this is counteracted by including sweet fruits that help to balance the flavors out. Green smoothies are among the most healthy smoothies, and also the most innovative.
These smoothies are very similar to sweet desserts such as milkshakes. Dessert smoothies often make use of combinations of various milks, ice, fruit juice, and fruits, as well as other inclusions such as yogurt and peanut butter.
This article wouldn’t be complete without a few of our favorite smoothie recipes, so we made sure to include a few for you to try out on your own when you have time.
For all of these recipes, you will need a high-power blender capable of pureeing frozen fruit and vegetable chunks. Measuring cups, spoons, a chef’s knife, and a cutting boards will come in handy as well.
This recipe is a good example of a basic fruit smoothie. The recipe is fairly simple, and you can always experiment by adding more ingredients to tweak it even more.
What You’ll Need
- 1 quart of hulled strawberries
- 1 banana, cut into chunks
- 2 peaches
- 1 cup of orange/peach/mango juice
- 2 cups ice
Directions: Place the strawberries, banana, and peaches all into the blender, and puree until the fruit is pureed. Follow this by adding in the fruit juice. Once combined, add the ice, and blend until you’ve reached the desired consistency. Pour into glasses and serve.
(Note: For extra-frozen smoothies, freeze the fruit before using.)
This green smoothie recipe is perfect for beginners who are just now getting into making their own smoothies at home, but still provides a complex and well-balanced flavor that’ suitable for even the most experienced smoothie connoisseurs.
What You’ll Need
- 2 cups fresh spinach (tightly packed into cup)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup mango
- 1 cup pineapple (frozen)
- 2 bananas
Directions: Add the spinach to the blender, followed by the water. Blend until there are no chunks remaining. After doing so, add the mango, pineapple, and bananas, and blend until desired consistency. Our into glasses and serve.
Peanut Butter Smoothie
This delicious dessert smoothie is simple, but very satisfying. Peanut butter and bananas make up most of the flavor, while a hint of honey adds a bit of extra sweetness.
What You’ll Need
- 2 bananas, cut up
- 2 cups milk
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 cups ice
Directions: Add the bananas, milk, and peanut butter to the blender, and pulse blend until nearly smooth. Add the ice and honey, and puree until very smooth. Serve in glasses.