Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ten Terrific Tips

The folks over at compiled this list of 10 Ways to Make Better Smoothies than Jamba Juice:

1. Store frozen fruit – In cold drinks, frozen trumps fresh. Keep frozen strawberries, blueberries, and bananas in your freezer at all times. Frozen fruit will keep your smoothies icy and will taste good no matter what’s in season. Surprisingly, frozen fruit almost always tastes better than fresh fruit when added to a frosty beverage.

2. Use frozen drink concentrate – Unfortunately, most home blenders don’t crush ice very well. Unless you’re willing to shell out four hundred bucks for a fancy contraption, frozen drink concentrate is the secret to making killer smoothies. Add half a can of frozen juice concentrate to your blender (Dole’s Pine-Orange Banana is a great one to start with). Then, just add other fruits, juices, and dairy products. Don’t add the suggested amount of water or you’ll negate the frosty effect.

3. Crush your own ice – When a recipe absolutely needs ice, crush the ice yourself before throwing it in the blender. Use the ice crusher on your fridge or resort to the traditional method of banging the ice bag against something solid. Taking a few minutes to pre-crush is better than finding huge ice cubes floating around in your smoothie.

4. Add dairy – If you’ve ever tried a Jamba Juice all-fruit smoothie, you probably asked yourself “what’s missing?” The answer is the dairy. Adding a little bit of dairy to your smoothie will make it taste rich and finished. You don’t have to load it up with ice cream (although, ice cream will make it taste amazing it will also negate any health benefits). Try throwing in a cup of non-fat yogurt or add in a few Tablespoons of milk. If you don’t think you’ll be able to taste it, give it a try. A little bit of dairy can make a huge difference in taste.

5. Don’t forget the bananas – Second only to dairy is the banana. While most fruits used in smoothies are rather acidic (think: orange juice, raspberries, etc.), bananas even out the taste. They add richness and balance. To freeze bananas ahead of time, slice them into thin rounds. Place the rounds on a cookie sheet and freeze until solid. Scrape the banana slices off the cookie sheet and store in an air-tight Tupperware container until you’re ready to use them.

6. Order matters - Don’t throw all of your ingredients in to the blender at the same time. Adding them in order will give your smoothie the ideal texture will let everything blend just right. First, crush and add your ice. Second, add any whole fruits. Third, put in the frozen fruit concentrates. Fourth, pour in the fruit juices. Finally, add the dairy. Blend for a few seconds between each step.

7. Forget the vitamins – Smoothie joints add vitamins so that their customers feel extra healthy when ordering a drink. Don’t make this mistake at home. Swallowing a vitamin takes half a second – crushing a vitamin into your smoothie will mess with the entire flavor of your drink, always in a bad way. When a Jamba Juice employee says “actually, vitamins aren’t recommended with that smoothie,” what he’s really saying is “that smoothie doesn’t taste strong enough to mask the bad flavor of the vitamin.” Be warned.

8. Create balance – A smoothie made from raspberries, cranberries, and ice will taste too acidic. A smoothie made from bananas and yogurt will taste too bland. Smoothies need to balance sharp citrus flavors (orange juices, berries, etc) with calming tastes (bananas, dairy, etc.) When making a smoothie be sure to add at least one acidic ingredient and one calming ingredient. Your taste buds will be pleased.

9. Serve in a margarita glass – Alright, so this one might be a little much. Presentation isn’t everything…but it can give your smoothie some style. If you’re serving smoothies at a party (or just want to treat yourself) pouring them into fancy glasses is a lot more fun.

10. Top with a straw – Even if you serve your smoothie in an old office mug, this step is actually important. For some reason, using a straw will greatly improve your smoothie-drinking experience. Smoothies are too thick without a straw. Try sipping from the edge of the cup and you’ll end up with a smoothie ‘stash. They’re easier to drink with a straw and I honestly think they taste better that way too.

Ten Terrific Tips for your enjoyment!

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