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The summer that Paul first moved to Cincinnati, we started making lots of smoothies. I don’t know why, but it became a nightly ritual from July through September. I started buying up the discounted brown bananas every time I went to the grocery store and keeping a stash of banana pieces in the freezer at all times to support this habit.
The result of all this is that I became pretty darn good at making smoothies, if I do say so myself. And I have learned a number of things about smoothie making, which I am sharing below.
How to Make a Good Smoothie
- First, the single most important thing for smoothie success is this: the order that you put the ingredients into the blender matters. If you want a creamy, cold smoothie, you’ll need the softest ingredients (fresh fruit, nut butter, protein powder) to hit the blade first, and the coldest, hardest ingredients (frozen fruit, ice) to hit it last. By stacking your ingredients in this way, the soft ingredients become evenly distributed throughout the liquid before the frozen ones drop in to thicken the mix and cool everything down. Doing it this way ensures that the frozen ingredients also have plenty of liquid to move around in, so you won’t end up with big chunks of ice in the final product.
In a standard blender, this means soft ingredients first, ice last. If you’re using a blender with a blade that screws into the top, like the Magic Bullet, reverse the order and put the ice in first. Or, you can even blend up the soft ingredients first before adding the ice and frozen ingredients.
- Second, use frozen ingredients that are no larger than an ice cube. This just helps everything blend more evenly. That means breaking up clumps of frozen berries and cutting bananas into smallish pieces. I cut each banana into eight even pieces before freezing–as a bonus if you’re tracking your food intake, you can easily count out a half banana or however much you need from a larger bag.
- Third, listen to your smoothie as it blends. I’m serious. When there are ice cubes and frozen chunks of fruit still shuttling around inside, you can hear them. Keep blending until you don’t hear any rattling ice.
- I also have one other tip specifically for blending with the Magic Bullet: Rather than blending straight up and down, tilt the blender at a 45-degree angle. This makes it much easier for the ingredients to move around inside (without doing the cocktail shaker motion recommended in the instructions) and more likely you’ll end up with a smooth drink.
So, to test out your newfound knowledge, try making this chocolate-peanut butter smoothie. This is one of my favorites because it’s chocolaty and creamy with a milkshake-like consistency–a healthy snack that really feels like a treat!
- 2 ice cubes
- 1 banana, cut into chunks and frozen
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
- 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- Add ingredients to a Magic Blender cup in order, so that the ice will be at the bottom (AKA, the top once you flip it over). If using a regular blender, reverse the order.
- Pulse a few times and then blend continuously. The softer ingredients will incorporate first, then the frozen bananas and ice will drop down to the blade, thickening the smoothing and chilling the mixture. Add additional milk if necessary to keep things moving. It's done when you stop hearing the ice clanking around inside!