Smoothies: frozen, fruity and fabulous

SIPS

May 08, 2002|By Sara Engram | Sara Engram,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Breakfast just got a whole lot easier at our house. So did lunches, after-school snacks and even desserts.

We've rediscovered smoothies, those eminently sippable beverage-foods that in their most basic form require nothing more than ripe fruit, a knife and a working blender.

Frozen-fruit-based concoctions are hardly new. The Orange Julius debuted in 1926, although the name smoothie didn't show up for several more decades.

These days, the smoothie business is booming, with menus featuring a dazzling variety of smoothies, many carrying a scoop of supplements for an extra nutritional kick. But there's something to be said for a plain old smoothie, just juicy, ripe, flavorful fruit.

There is no shortage of smoothie books on the market, or of smoothie recipes in magazines and on the Web. I found some useful tips and enticing combinations in Smoothies: 50 Recipes for High-Energy Refreshment by Mary Corpening Barber, Sara Corpening and Lori Lyn Harlock (Chronicle Books, 1997, $15.95).

The book has some good suggestions. For one, buy ripe fruit in season and take the time to cut it and freeze it, so when the smoothie urge hits, you don't have to postpone your pleasure too long.

Smoothie Classico is perhaps the most basic smoothie and always a favorite. It's an especially good smoothie for this time of year, as fresh strawberries are beginning to show up in the produce aisles and at roadside stands.

Like all true classics, this smoothie is simple, consisting only of strawberries, bananas and orange juice. By freezing the bananas and strawberries ahead of time, you move your smoothie experience to a higher level of sipping pleasure.

The preparation is easy. Strawberries should be hulled and cut into quarters before placing them in plastic bags for freezing. Bananas should be peeled, frozen in plastic bags, then sliced when you're ready to blend the smoothie. You should generally allow at least two hours for the fruits to freeze.

I've tried the Classico properly prepared, with frozen bananas and strawberries and, once, with frozen strawberries but room-temperature bananas. It's good both ways but, believe me, it's worth freezing the bananas ahead.

Smoothies don't have to be nutritional powerhouses - you can even make one with cola. But like the Classico, which provides a good dose of both vitamin C and potassium, most smoothies are pretty darn good for you.

Smoothie Classico

Serves 2

1 cup orange juice

1 cup hulled and quartered fresh strawberries, frozen

2 fresh bananas, frozen and sliced

Pour the orange juice into a blender. Add the strawberries and bananas. Blend until smooth.

From "Smoothies: 50 Recipes for High-Energy Refreshment" by Mary Corpening Barber, Sara Corpening and Lori Lyn Harlock (Chronicle Books, 1997, $15.95)

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