How to Use a Smoothie Maker

At first glance, a smoothie maker may appear to be nothing more than a jazzed up version of the standard kitchen blender. That may have been true at one time, but not anymore. Modern smoothie makers are specifically designed to make processing frozen drinks a snap. The pitcher has a more angular shape to draw the fruit down into the blades, the blades are strong enough to crush ice without breaking, and there is a handy tap at the base of the pitcher for spill-free drink dispensing. Also, most smoothie makers come equipped with a stirring stick that fits snugly into the lid to aid in the even distribution of ingredients. In short, they have been designed to make it simple for anyone to create healthy, fun, fruit beverages.

Place the smoothie maker on a flat surface. Insert the pitcher into the base and twist to ensure it is properly connected. Remove the lid and stirring stick, and make sure the tap is closed.

Wash, peel, cube, or slice a ½ to 1 cup of fruit. Put the fruit into the smoothie pitcher. Use a one type of fruit or a combination of fruit. Popular choices for smoothies include: strawberries, bananas, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, pineapple, and melon.

Add yogurt. Use plain or fruit flavored, fresh or frozen. If you prefer fresh, add a single 8 ounce container for each. If you choose frozen, add approximately 1 cup. Vanilla is a popular yogurt choice for smoothies as it enhances the flavors of the fruits.

Pour a ½ cup of juice into the pitcher. Most people choose apple, orange, or pineapple. Juice can be fresh, canned, or reconstituted from frozen. If you don't want juice add a ½ cup of milk instead or a ¼ cup of milk and a ¼ cup frozen fruit sorbet. Raspberry sorbet is a welcome addition to berry blends.

Add enough ice cubes to bring your smoothie mix up to the appropriate mark on the pitcher. This can generally be accomplished by adding four to six cubes.

Place the lid on the smoothie maker and insert the stirring stick. Process the smoothie on high for 1 minute, using the stick to stir in the opposite direction. As you blend, push any visible chunks to the center of the vortex with the stirring stick.

Check the consistency of your smoothie. If it is evenly blended and thick, dispense into one large mug or two small glasses from the tap at the base of the pitcher. If unprocessed pieces of fruit are clearly visible, blend on low for another 30 seconds and check again. Repeat as necessary.