The secret to the perfect smoothie

What's the best way to make a smoothie? I find it hard to get the texture right.

Emily, Gatekeeper

Smoothies are a great way to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet, but success depends on the right consistency. As Lily Simpson, founder of Detox Kitchen, says: “It's too thick and you have to take a spoon; too thin and you will lose the creamy smooth taste. But even though you don't need to follow a recipe, Emily, hitting that textural sweet spot is a numbers game.

Cook Anna Jones, whose books include One: Pot, Pan, Planet, wrote a smoothie guide for The Guardian a while back, and it's worth revisiting. “A good smoothie is all about getting the ratio right,” writes Jones, who divides hers into five parts. That is, she takes the hero fruit/veggie (be it greens, banana, mango, whatever), which makes up two-fifths of her smoothie, then adds the "accent" fruit or veg, making it one-fifth. Using frozen fruit here is a great appeal. Says Simpson: "That means you don't have to use ice, which reduces the flavor - bananas are a good choice because they add a thick, creamy texture." A fruit-filled freezer also means smoothies are always on hand, and it will also help reduce food waste. "Pineapple and mango are very large fruits so it's hard to get past them when they're fresh," says Simpson, who freezes them in "small bite-sized chunks to help with the blender."

The smoothie then calls for liquid – coconut water, apple juice or water for Simpson (“for 250ml, half should be liquid, the rest soft fruit”), while Jones might add ice, cow's milk, nut milk or kefir to the mix, making up two-fifths of the mix. the rest of the drink. “Finally, I like to add extra flavour, creamy smoothness, or a sweet or sour balance,” says Jones, which can include grated turmeric/ginger or dried herbs, peanut butter, dates or honey, and lemon or lime. zest or juice respectively. Similarly, Simpson complemented her drink with "nice pop", adding "lime juice to a berry smoothie, vanilla powder to a banana and cocoa smoothie, cinnamon to coconut and pineapple smoothie, and lemon juice to avocado with greens".

Blitzing a lot in a high-powered blender is your best shot for smooth results, but if your tools just aren't quite up to the job, David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl have a few pointers on Green Kitchen Smoothies, from grating tougher roots (e.g. carrots, beets). , ginger) and letting frozen fruit or vegetables thaw a little before blending, to sauté any greens in your liquid of choice until smooth before adding anything else.

Finally, Emily, remember that smoothies can be made up. If, say, you're up for something a little more substantial, add oats, or enjoy Frenkiel and Vindahl's upside-down breakfast, where a banana, berry, and spinach smoothie is layered with muesli and yoghurt. For four people, add chopped bananas to a blender with a handful of baby spinach, 75g of frozen strawberries, 75g of frozen blueberries, half a teaspoon of ground cardamom, and 250ml of oat or almond milk, and blend on high speed until smooth. Divide 150g of muesli followed by 250g of yoghurt between glass jars, then pour over smoothie. Sprinkle with chopped fruit, grab a spoon and go.

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