Green smoothies are everywhere, it seems, showing up everywhere from your neighborhood smoothie bar, your vegan co-worker’s office desk, to your Facebook wall feed. But aside your sneaking suspicion that these mason jar staples are stalking you. If there’s a reason why green smoothies are so prevalent nowadays, it’s because it’s all good!
Green smoothies are an excellent way to up your five-a-day vegetable intake. Because they’re usually served raw, you get the full nutritious goodness of your greens in a tasty drink that’ll make you welcome them, instead of pushing them around on your plate.
If you haven’t tried green smoothies yet, now’s the perfect time to try, thanks to spring and the abundance of homegrown organic lettuce, arugula, Swiss chard, spinach, and other greens the season brings.
Putting your Smoothie Together
A green smoothie is usually composed of greens, fruit or other veggies and a liquid base. A common formula is two cups of leafy greens, two cups of liquid, and three cups of ripe fruit.
Popular leafy greens are dark ones like spinach, swiss chard, and kale. Romaine, bok choy, dandelion, and collards are commonly used, but you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment and use whatever greens are in season and easily available in your locale. Whenever possible, opt for organic produce. If they’re not available, clean your greens, fruits, and veggies well, peeling whenever it’s called for.
For the liquid base, you can’t go wrong with plain, filtered water, but if you’d like added flavor and electrolytes, coconut water is also a popular choice. Coconut milk, nut milks like almond and cashew, and freshly-squeezed, all natural fruit juices are also good to use.
To make it perfectly creamy, use fleshy fruit like bananas, mangoes, peaches, pears, apples, avocados, and papaya as your base fruit. For added flavor, you can blend in additional fruits like strawberries, pineapples, oranges, and blueberries. While these are excellent for upping the flavor factor, they should be used sparingly and not as the base fruit because they’ll water your smoothie down.
Some people add superfood boosters like chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds for added nutritional benefits.
Getting Ready to Blend
When assembling your smoothie, start with the liquids before the solids. This gives your blender’s blades sufficient room to move. Pour in your juice or water, add your greens, then blend. Add your cut fruits and vegetables, then blend again. Blending in stages gives you a smooth even blend without leafy chunks.
If your blender has various speed settings, start on slow. This will allow your blender to break down the larger pieces of fruit and veggies. Then, you can switch to a higher setting for a finer puree.
Things to Remember
Fruits are nature’s sweetener. Instead of adding extra processed sugar or artificial sweeteners, go for ripe, in season fruits that are naturally sweet, like bananas, mangoes, and apples.
For an extra icy experience, cut up your fruit and store in the freezer for icy fruit cubes that can do well as an ice substitute. You can give your greens the same treatment by storing them in a freezer-safe bag. When the need for a smoothie strikes, grab them from the freezer and dump straight in your blender pitcher. Don’t defrost, especially not the greens to avoid ruining their texture and flavor.
Too busy to blend in the mornings? Make them ahead of time and store in the fridge for up to two days. Pour your smoothie in an airtight jar to limit oxidation. Give it a good shake before drinking and you’re good to go.
While there are a lot of guidelines you can follow to ensure that you get a great mason jar of green smoothie each time, remember that these are guidelines. Never be afraid to experiment to find the green smoothie recipe that works best for you.