July 20, 2015

Making the Perfect Green Smoothie

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.

The perfect green smoothie uses as many homegrown ingredients as possible.

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:
3/4 cup liquid
1/2 cup greens
a small banana
2/3 cup other fruit (usually 1/3 cup each of two kinds)
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.

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.

Peach juice from delicious Porter peaches.
Peach juice from those delicious Porter peaches

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.

Green smoothie ingredients

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.
Green smoothie 
  • 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.

Green smoothie extras
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?

This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.
My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
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  1. I'm told by fellow 'urban farmers' here in Tulsa that you can grow bananas in Oklahoma if you can over-winter them indoors. However, since I don't like bananas except in banana bread, this has been useless knowledge to me until now. :D

    1. Rebekah, thank you for hanging on to that tidbit of information until I needed it! :-)

  2. Anonymous3:23 PM

    I like making smoothies out of all sorts of fruits, juices, and a little jam for sweet. I too sneak in veggies. One of my standard things to do is add a handful of sprouted wheat. It's pretty much tasteless and adds a great nutritional boost

  3. Sprouted wheat would be an excellent addition too. Thank you for that idea. :-)

  4. Yes, I do love green smoothies :). I also like spinach in mine. Strawberry, banana, peanut butter and apple juice are my fav combo. Although, frozen blueberries are a great additional as pretty much any other fruit ;) Great tip on using pipe cleaners in the straws!
    I've had Porter peaches!! Aren't they the best?!

  5. Mary, I've heard from others that peanut butter is very good in smoothies but I haven't tried it yet. Glad to hear that you like them as well as I do!

  6. My favorite combo at the moment is spinach, banana, strawberry, blueberry, pineapple with pineapple juice and blueberry-pomegranate juice. I freeze all the fruits and veggies so there's no need for ice. My favorite way to start the morning. :)

  7. That sounds delicious, Ashley. I've been wanting to try pomegranate juice, now I think I might splurge and get some. I hope you have a great day!

  8. This is a good recipe, because it is so flexible. Thanks for posting. Hello from Hearth and Soul Hop.

  9. What a great way to start the day and I love the addition of the greens. My son has been having something similar for breakfast each morning and he really enjoys it and it fills him up. Thank you for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

  10. The spinach has little to no taste of its own but it sure adds a nutritional boost. Good for your son for starting his morning with a bang!

  11. Boy, do I love green smoothies! Started drinking a quart a day in January (1 1/2 c water, 2 cups spinach, three fruits). Such as great way to get good nutrition. Thanks for linking up at the Weekend Blog Hop at My Flagstaff Home!


  12. They are so good, aren't they, Jennifer? You drink twice as much as I do, but yes I could do that, they are delicious and so nice and cool in the summer.

  13. This was really helpful to break down the recipe to it's basic parts. Thanks for the tip on using lambs quarters too!!

  14. You're welcome, Mrs. Cote. Yes, once you know the basic amounts you can use any fruits, greens and liquid - perfectly customized!

  15. I love smoothies, but I have never gone "green." Very interesting. Thanks for sharing on the (mis)Adventures Monday Blog Hop! Can't wait to see what you have this week!!

  16. Looks delicious Kathi! Thanks for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop, I pinned this one!

  17. Thank you for the pin, Jennifer!

  18. looks delicious love to try it thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop, pinning.

  19. Swathi, they are delicious. If you're new to drinking greens, start by adding just a leaf or two to your smoothie and increasing a little every day. Thank you for the pin!

  20. Your smoothie looks so good....thanks for all the tips!

    Thanks for linking up with Green Thumb Thursday. I hope to see you back this week!


  21. My son is always on the look out for better smoothies! I will be sending this one to him in college! Thanks for sharing it with us over at country fair blog party! I always look forward to seeing what you've been up to!
    Jan @ Tip Garden

  22. I hope your son enjoys the recipes, Jan. Thank you for visiting.


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