A simple blender allows you to mix and match wholesome fruits to your liking. Unlike juices that come out of a centrifuge or juicer, which separate solids from liquids, blended smoothies are the result of liquidizing fruits together with their fibers and edible skins. Chop and blend your fruits at the last minute to avoid oxidation, and enjoy your drink immediately for the freshest taste.
A liquid basis is necessary for the blending process to be effective, because the fluid surrounding the blade drags along the fruit pieces that need to be pureed until the homogeneous beverage freely circulates in the blender. Water is an easy choice that doesn’t interfere with the drink’s taste and doesn’t add calories. Ice cubes are often used to cool and thicken blended beverages. Dairy milk, soy milk or kefir is a suitable option for a creamier result, while coconut water or milk adds exotic flair to your smoothie. Store-bought fruit juices can also be used to complement the fresh ingredients; they are especially convenient when it comes to seedy fruits such as soursop or pomegranate. Add a dash of strong liquor or sweet liqueur for fruit-based blended cocktails.
Inedible peels such as from bananas, kiwis and oranges must be discarded before blending, but thin-skinned fruits such as apples, pears and peaches can be thrown into the blender with the skin on -- it comes with the benefit of added fibers that give more texture to the drink. Chop fruits into small pieces and remove seeds to ease the blender’s work and avoid overheating. Fresh, ripe seasonal fruits at the grocery store are always a good source of inspiration; try mixing acidic with richer varieties, such as citrus and papaya or blackberry and guava. Other popular combinations include mango, orange and lime; mixed berries and pear; or banana and strawberry.
The consistency of your drink depends on the amount of water contained in the selected fruits and the ratio of liquid versus solid ingredients. Water-rich fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, melons, watermelons and grapes add fluidity to the mixture. In contrast, solid fruits like bananas, figs and dates, as well as dairy products such as yogurt and quark, act as thickeners. Generally, frozen fruits produce a thicker smoothie than do fresh fruits; use them to replace some or all of the ice cubes.
Use common cooking ingredients to sweeten, deepen the flavor and add a kick to your blended fruit drinks. Alternatives to plain sugar and artificial sweeteners include honey, molasses, flavored syrups, agave nectar and stevia extract. Spices that work well in fruit smoothies include vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, tonka bean and cardamom; even a touch of jalapeno can be ideal for the more adventurous. Correct bitterness by adding pineapple or an overripe banana, and balance excessive sweetness with lemon, tamarind or a pinch of salt. Experiment with fresh herbs, flowers and rhizomes such as basil, mint, lavender or ginger -- they yield surprisingly delicious results.
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