Q: I love the convenience and fresh taste of smoothies, but I probably spend way too much on buying them at cafes, and I have a sinking suspicion (sugar, addictives, etc.) that they’re not as healthy as they look. I know I can make a smoothie at home that’s “good enough,” but if I go through the effort of making them, I want to make sure they they’re the best smoothies ever. Thoughts? Tips?
A: You’re absolutely right—making smoothies at home is fast and easy. Plus, since they’re basically blended fruit, they make a perfect snack or breakfast on the go.
After lots of testing, we found frozen fruit to be ideal for smoothies—not only is it already prepped for you, but oftentimes it tastes sweeter and more ripe. (Frozen fruit is picked at the peak of ripeness and immediately chilled, preserving both its flavor and all of the vitamins.) Frozen fruit also makes the smoothie good and cold.
Of course, you can substitute the same amount of fresh fruit in any of the recipes below if you prefer; simply add 10 ice cubes to the blender with the fruit.
A note on blenders: Choose wisely. A blender has one basic job—to blend food into a uniform consistency, whether it’s crushing ice or producing lump-free purees for smoothies (or soups, or hummus, or…). Two things are most important for success: the blades should be tapered or serrated and the jar should also be tapered to keep food close to the blade edges.
After crushing hundreds of ice cubes and pureeing our way through countless soups and smoothies, we found two winners. The KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender ($119.95) impressed us with its brute strength and efficiency, while the Kalorik BL Blender ($45), though noticeably slower than our winner, performed nearly as well and was also the quietest of the bunch, making it our best buy.