I start most mornings with a green smoothie. It's a delicious way to get more servings of fruit and vegetables every day. It's quick to fix before I head out the door to feed the livestock and get started on the day's work before it gets too hot.
It's become a fun personal challenge to see how many of the ingredients I can grow or produce at home, although I'm pretty sure I can't grow bananas here in Oklahoma.
Green smoothies are just fruit smoothies with greens added: spinach or beet greens or kale (but I don't and won't have kale in my house, just sayin') or any other leafy green veggie. Basically, you blend a liquid base, greens, and fruit and/or veggies.
You can find thousands of recipes for smoothies online. I started with a few that sounded good and have since developed some of my own, although many mornings I just throw what I have into the blender.
My basic "recipe" is:Liquid: The liquid used can be milk, coconut or almond milk, water, fruit juice and more. I usually start with fruit juice. Last year I juiced a lot of blackberries to make jelly later, but before I got around to making and canning the jelly, I began using the juice in smoothies. Blackberry juice is definitely my favorite.
3/4 cup liquid
1/2 cup greens
a small banana
2/3 cup other fruit (usually 1/3 cup each of two kinds)
Homemade apple juice, pear juice, peach juice, plum juice - they are all tasty. I freeze juice in muffin tins, then pop out the frozen disks and put them in freezer bags. They defrost in the refrigerator overnight for use in the morning. If you're buying juice, such as orange juice, buy 100% juice with no sugar added. I think these fruit smoothies are sweet enough without having to add any sweetener, but when I do need to add a touch of sweetness I use raw honey.
Greens: I use spinach from my garden, but I do have to buy it over the winter. Beet greens are good too, and sometimes I add some lambsquarters or lemon balm leaves too. I dehydrated a quantity of lambsquarters this spring and crumbled them into a jar. When I have an excess of beet greens or spinach, I freeze them on a cookie sheet, then transfer to a zipper-top bag to store in the freezer. No need to blanch them for short-term storage.
Fruit: I like my smoothies with banana, hubby likes his without. As for the other fruits, I use peaches, plums, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and more - whatever I can get my hands on. I use homegrown as much as possible, of course. Part of what I'm canning this year will be for smoothies in the winter.
Optional Additions: I sometimes add rolled oats, ground flaxseed, a spoonful of homemade yogurt plus any whey that has separated from the yogurt in the container, and sometimes a spoonful of dried lambsquarters. There is a great article on how to make your own "green powder" at Joybilee Farm.
Here are my secrets to the perfect green smoothie:
- Blend the juice and greens first, so that you don't have chunks of spinach in your drink. My Ninja blender (affiliate link) does a great job of liquefying the spinach or other greens.
- Then add the fruit and blend again. I use frozen fruit as often as I can - homegrown and then frozen. Using at least one frozen fruit will make your drink frosty and thick without having to add ice cubes to the blender.
- To save time in the morning, I make "smoothie packets" and freeze them - a peeled and sliced banana plus other prepared fruits that I have on hand - so that I just have to grab a container from the freezer and toss the contents into the blender. This keeps me from letting that last peach or banana go to waste too. If I have an excess of spinach, I freeze that in 1/2-cup quantities in zipper bags.
- When I first began making green smoothies, the green color was a bit off-putting. I used a smoke-colored cup to disguise the color until I was used to it.
- Rinse out the blender cup and the smoothie glass as soon as possible after using. I use a pipe cleaner to clean the plastic straws; pipe cleaners are in the craft section of most stores.
Optional additions: ground flaxseed, powdered oatmeal, and dried lambsquarters.
Some of my favorite combinations are banana/strawberry/peach, banana/berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries), banana/kiwi/strawberry, and banana/pineapple/mandarin orange (I use canned mandarin oranges).
Do you drink green smoothies? What is your favorite flavor or combination?
My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a