Monday, April 11, 2011

Green Smoothie Tips

Happy Monday, all! (Yes, I know... those two words don't normally go together. "Looks like someone's got a case of the Mondays!")

But perhaps if you started your morning off with a nutritionally jam-packed drink of green smoothie, your morning is going better than other mornings! ;-)

And I just wanted to share a few tips that I learned recently about getting the best blend for your buck.

While there are expensive, high-end blenders that I dream of one day owning, since they can cost $400+, for now I make due with what I have. I now have a decent Cuisine Art blender, and did pay a pretty penny for it - but I figured it was worth the investment. After burning through three $20-$40 blenders within a year, I figured I might as well get something sturdier.

But, if you just have a simple blender, here are a few tips to try to keep your green smoothies nice and SMOOOOOTH, instead of chunky-monkey applesaucey.

Dave offered to make one the other day, since I was running behind. So he just took the greens, the apple, the fruit... and piled it all in at once before trying to blend it. The result? Well, it didn't blend too nicely since we don't have an expensive, fancy blender. The greens at the bottom got all compacted around the blades, and the blades whirred in a big air pocket without getting much work done! So he tried to pack in more, stir it up, and add some water. Eventually, he got the blades hitting the food, and the smoothie was made with some effort. But it was done! And it still tasted good since he added extra fruits. But the texture was definitely different!

Here are a few things I've learned along the way, to work with a blender that's not an Uber Blender :) I also asked a crew of smoothie-addicted friends for some of their tricks!

  • START WITH GREENS. Just use a small handful of greens, torn a little bit if needed, and just enough water to blend (1/2 cup maybe?) Start at a slower blending speed, then work your way up. While it's running, gradually add more torn greens. Let that run for 30 seconds or so, to try to break down all those tough cell walls. Then begin to add other items gradually.
  • ADD ANTIOXIDANTS. If using lemon juice, add it just after the greens. Not only will the extra liquid help things blend, but the antioxidant power of the vitamin C will help maintain the nutritional benefits of the smoothie and slow the browning process some. We want green!!
  • DON'T STOP! Sometimes it helps to let the blades keep a'whirring while you add in items, instead of turning it off, adding, then turning it back on. This lets the velocity of the blending just suck down those chunks of fruit and blend them into oblivion!
  • PROPER STORING. While it's best to drink fresh, you can store it for later. Try to use a container that is airtight, and just big enough so there's as little extra air as possible. This can store in the fridge for 24 hours; or you can freeze it for later. But again, try to use ASAP.
  • TIME IT! Jasmine, author of the blogsite The Convenient Vegan, laughs and says, "I just blend for a really...long... time." And that is a huge help! Don't short-change your blend time, as this will help with that smooth consistency. Just try to let it run only as long as absolutely needed. You want it smooth, but the longer it runs, the more oxygen in pulls in, causing more oxidation and browning. So find your happy medium!
  • AND MORE! Check out this wonderful blog by Evelyn, From Sprout to Supper, where she shares her journey of food from ground up! She suggests:
    • To help make it smooth I add a banana. When I run out it makes a big difference.
    • You can also use cashews, avocados and coconut oil to thicken your smoothie.
    • Instead of water I use 1 cup Kombucha. The flavored ones are really good with the smoothie. I like the cranberry and mango ones the best. Mango, cacao and coconut oil make a great smoothie.
So I hope that helps, if you've been having some bad experiences! It's amazing the difference texture makes to the palatability of a smoothie, even if the flavor is exactly the same! I don't know if it has been a taste I have acquired, or the fact my blender is better at getting that great smooth texture - but I am now able to add half a head of Romaine in a smoothie, plus usually 1-2 cups of some other green, and still love it! Even Dave likes it, with only an apple, pear, and banana!

Give it another go if you have had trouble! Start light on the greens if needed, but either way...

Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho!



  1. It seems you really enjoy romaine lettuce. What special qualities are in this vegetable?

  2. Haha! I do enjoy it :)

    It has a higher water content than some other dark greens, so it seems to blend pretty well. But mostly, it’s just one that Dave doesn’t mind, so it’s easy to put in the smoothie and still get him to drink some. I’m also a big fan of kale, spinach, and chard. Any green is good, but now I’ll look into the benefits of Romaine specifically, and get back to you with a future post just about Romaine ;-)