What’s a smoothie?
A smoothie is the general umbrella term given to any of a variety of different blended beverages usually containing fruit and other ingredients.
There are as many smoothies as there are smoothie makers, for the sky is the limit as far as improv, variation and innovation go within the smoothie universe. Smoothies range from very traditional (your average strawberry banana smoothie) to highly unorthodox and experimental. And it is not uncommon for even the most seasoned smoothie maker to veer into dangerously disgusting territory during particularly wild improvisational smoothie-making sessions.
If you’re going to try your hand at making your own smoothies, there are a few things you need to know. Smoothie ingredients break down into three categories: fruit, liquid and additions. Let’s look at each of these in turn.
First, let’s talk about fruit. Fruit forms the foundation of your smoothie. The fruit flavors will usually dominate, so you can pick your favorite fruits to give your smoothie its primary flavor identity. Now, not all fruit actually works in smoothies. Some fruits do well, others do horribly.
Creamy fruits, berries and stone fruits like peaches all work well in smoothies. Melons can work well in small amounts (or you can blend up a bunch of melon with other ingredients for one of your wilder smoothie experiments). However, lots of popular fruits don’t work particularly well in smoothies. Apples, for instance, don’t really make great smoothie foundation material. Use apple cider as a liquid base instead for an apple-flavored smoothie.
Since there are so many different types of fruits, I can’t really tell you which ones will work and which ones won’t on a case by case basis. Just be aware that some of the fruits you add to your smoothies might not actually end up working well. And that’s totally okay.
Once you’ve chosen your fruit, you need to add in a liquid. Juices work really well. Water tends to be a little tricky because you smoothie can easily end up quite flavorless. It’s weird how you can have tons of fruits and other ingredients, but water’s dilutional power simply takes the edge off of all the flavors. My personal favorite (current) smoothie liquid is coconut water. You can find some at health food stores, or do what I do and order it directly from Amazon for a discount.
Finally, no smoothie would be complete without some extra ingredients. This is where the sky really is the limit. You can add nutritional supplements (particularly the powdered kind), nuts (use raw nuts or be prepared to rue your nut addition) and leafy greens (spinach, kale and parsley are fantastic but use these with care lest your smoothie be more nutritious than actually tasty).
Since each of those three categories contains near-infinite potential for variation, you can see that the number of total smoothies is basically infinite. Don’t be afraid to mix up something strange! Instead, be brave, get out your blender and have at it–it’s smoothie time!