It is this time of the year when farmers’ markets lure with an exhibit of sun-kissed summer fruits – peaches, cherries and juicy mangoes! Why choose one when you can enjoy them all by creating a lip-smacking smoothie! A chilled smoothie is not only the best remedy for scorching hot weather, but a cool way to get your daily serving of fruits and a chock-full of health benefits.
Fresh vs. Frozen
We often wonder whether fresh fruit is superior to frozen fruit. Fruit that has been packed and frozen prior to sale is usually picked ripe and processed almost immediately afterward. The freezing process “locks in” many of their nutrients and is mostly additive-free.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
If you live in a place where fresh fruits are abundant all year round, it makes more sense to purchase these, but if you live in a remote area where your options are less, buying frozen fruits or freezing them would be a sensible choice. It is an easy way to save the great flavors of ripe in-season fruit that can be enjoyed later in the year.
For most part, freezing a fruit is a no brainer. But knowing how to prepare your produce is an essential step in getting most out of your fruits and making delicious smoothies.
Select fruits at the stage when they are best for eating. Do not use fruits that are hard or over soft to touch. Fruit ripened naturally and prepared immediately for freezing is usually better than fruit picked pre-maturely. Here are some fruit-specific suggestion to a successful smoothie preparation:
Do not wash your berries until just before freezing them. Unless you have very large strawberries that you plan to freeze before making smoothies, there is not need to cut berries.
Unless you are using store-bought frozen cherries without pit, you will need to remove the pits from the cherries for freezing.
They should be peeled and the seeds should be removed. Removing pith-white layer around the citrus fruits prevents bitterness, but doing so eliminates some of the nutrients. Consider leaving pith on to improve the nutrient quality. Cut and freeze.
Grapes should be removed from stems completely and washed thoroughly, frozen whole.
Peel, slice and remove the pit and cut into slices. Freeze them in single layer in an airtight container or you can puree and freeze in ice tray, then transfer to freeze bags.
Cut in halves and remove the sticky pit. Slice and freeze. Remove just before serving as they darken very quickly when exposed to air.
Cut the spiny top off and then slice the pineapple into quarters and cut the woody core away. Cut one inch chunks and freeze.
Peel the banana, cut into chunks and freeze.
For ready-to-blend smoothie mixes, measure all the fruit ingredients a recipe calls for. Freeze on cookie sheets and cover with parchment paper. Once they are ready, mix and match to make single serving bags. To enjoy a smoothie, simply toss the bag contents in a high speed blender with your choice of ingredients and enjoy!
Also you can make ready-to-sip smoothies by freezing your freshly prepared smoothie blends in ice cube tray and then transfer to freezer bags. Experiment with the number of servings the cubes will yield to make controlled portions. Sip on the cubes as they thaw or make frosty smoothies by re-blending in the processor.
Typically a smoothie is creamy, satisfying. It should maintain the texture and remain homogenized for a while as it warms up. Blending up some ice cubes with your ingredients to chill works but you might compromise with the consistency. Adding frozen fruits will not only retain their nutritional value and flavor, but will instantly chill your smoothie.
While there is no perfect way to make a smoothie, they are quite easy to make. A rule of thumb
• The more frozen ingredients you add, the less likely you will need ice. They help thicken the smoothie like ice without thinning it down.
• The juicier the ingredients, the less liquid you will need. So, if you like a thicker smoothie, use half frozen fruit and half fresh. Fresh fruits will impart the delicate sweet flavor whereas frozen varieties add texture, equal or better nutrition.
I typically use, 1 part frozen liquid base, 1 part ripe fruit and 2 parts frozen fruit. These measurements are not set in stone, experiment to find exactly what you like. Add flavor enhancers like cinnamon, nutmeg for taste. For a nutrition boost add hemp, chia seeds etc. The sky’s the limit!
So, next time to beat the heat, don’t reach for the ice cream tub but pick the frozen fruit bag instead. A healthy smoothie is low cal, more natural and has real ingredients-packed with more vitamins, minerals and fiber. Has little or no fat. No additives, no empty calories. This is one thing that tastes good and is good for you to the last drop. So have fun experimenting and freeze your way to health!
Also check out this 10-day green smoothie cleanse with frozen fruits