But first, what are we talking about? I’m going with the MacMillan dictionary’s definition: a drink made from fruit, milk or cream, and ice cream. But I always say if there’s ice cream, it’s a milk shake.
Smoothies are all the rage these days, as if they’re a brand-new discovery. Don’t make me laugh. I had my first smoothie in 1972, and Mediterranean and Eastern cultures have been pureeing fruits and vegetables for centuries.
What makes smoothies so popular today is, I think, a combination of factors:
- Decent home refrigeration
- An increase in the interest in healthy eating
- Inexpensive home blenders
- The fact that while we have gotten older, we ‘60s hippies refuse to die
So What Makes a Smoothie a Smoothie?
As Hamlet said, “Aye, there’s the rub!” What is a smoothie, anyway?
I’d say that there are as many “official definitions” of the smoothie as there are varieties and recipes. And there are tens of thousands of recipes on the Internet alone, which doesn’t include recipes in people’s card file boxes.
A smoothie can be made with anything, but for the purpose of this post, I’m going to insist on some basics: fruit, liquid, veggies. I’ll also allow some options: sweetener, flavor, and some energy. Finally, if you like it creamy, go for it!
In addition to an energy boost, many of these ingredients also add a nice hit of protein.
And there you have it: a smoothie!
Blenders For Smoothies…and Milkshakes, Juices, Etc.
When it comes to mixing drinks or creating smoothies, two kinds of blenders come to mind: countertop and hand-held (also called immersion) blenders.
Countertop blenders can be heavy-duty or conventional. Heavy-duty blenders are designed to hold up under constant use, and are usually the kind found in commercial establishments. Conventional blenders are best for low-intensity tasks, such as making smoothies or milkshakes.
A newer type of personal blender has made an appearance on the scene. These are basically conventional blenders designed for lighter use, mainly for creating smoothies. Their mixing chamber doubles as a to-go container, allowing you to make your smoothie at home and take it with you.
Also called hand-held or stick blenders, these are designed to be placed right into the mixing container along with the ingredients:
I use an immersion blender, only because my wife has a conventional blender, and we don’t wish to duplicate appliances when we rejoin households. In addition to the cutting/puree blade shown here, it also has a whisk attachment.
And while I don’t endorse any particular brand over another, I would like to direct your attention to this article at Bon Appétit which will show you the advantages of using an immersion blender.
I will say that my immersion blender was a low-end device; I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something that I was only going to use once or twice. But I’ve had it for a week, and I’ve used it several times each day. It makes excellent smoothies, and I’ve used it on frozen fruit, baby carrots, bananas, and baby spinach leaves with no problem.
So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to use my immersion blender and make myself a Peanut Butter Cup Oreo Milkshake.