Bruised Fruit and Surplus Vegetable Smoothies
I'm on a serious smoothie kick, and so is my three year old. These days, Kira spends nearly every car ride home from day care asking if she can make a smoothie when we get home. She loves looking through the fridge and the fruit bowl to find ingredients, and she loves [translation: absolutely insists on] putting them in the blender herself. She doesn't so much love the noise made by my Vitamix blender, but she it's all good again once she's drinking the smoothie. It's perfect kid food - pure fruits and vegetables, plus maybe some juice or almond milk or yogurt - and perfect adult food too. I've started drinking one almost every morning using the contents of my Smoothie Bag as well as any leafy greens hanging in the fridge.
The Smoothie Bag, which lives in the freezer, is an easy holding spot for any fruit starting to get a bit old, but still not rotten or moldy. Keep an eye on fruit on the counter or in the freezer, and chuck it into the Smoothie Bag if it's starting to soften or you know you won't eat it before it does. I love that there's almost always smoothie ingredients in the house now that I've implemented this. It's the perfect use for any bruised or soft fruit.
I grab whatever's in the bag, add some fresh fruit, and I always try to add something green, especially when I've got a surplus of leaves from my CSA box. The more color, the more nutrients, and it's a great way to add some veggies to the diet of a fruit-loving kid (as well as any adult). Spinach, kale, chard, and celery are all great options. If I got a bit ambitious with lettuce buying, I stick some leaves in a smoothie. Yesterday I added all the edamame that Kira didn't eat at school to the smoothie, and we couldn't taste it at all. We've also used corn kernels, sweet peas, and carrot peels, which are all naturally sweet. It's fun creating new combos and learning about fruits and vegetables, while cleaning out the fridge!
I've never measured any of these smoothies, which I realize is unhelpful for those of you who like a little precision. Here's my method: I put fruit in the blender until it reaches about 2 cups. I add the veggies of choice - maybe 1/2 a cup or so. I then pour in about a cup of liquid to ensure the blender will run smoothly. Sometimes we'll then add a 1/2 cup of yogurt or so, or a tablespoon or two of nut butter. Then you can add extra flavorings - dates are good for sweetness, ginger for spiciness - or any other items you want to bulk up the smoothie or for health benefits, like ground flax, bee pollen, protein powder, goji berries, etc. Blend, taste, adjust, enjoy!
Still need a bit more direction? Here you go.
The Rough Recipe
This takes just a few minutes and serves about 2 people - if there's extra, stash it in the fridge in an airtight container and drink it later or incorporate it into the next smoothie you make. You can also freeze it into popsicle form if there's someone in your household who FREAKING LOVES POPSICLES. Keep it vegan by using juice or coconut/nut milk instead of milk or yogurt. Feel free to switch up the ratios depending on what you have - a high ratio of fruit:veggie keeps it toddler-friendly, but you do you.
Here's what you'll need:
- A good blender, a high-speed one if at all possible
- 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit, cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup vegetables, such as lettuce, spinach or kale leaves, celery chunks, corn kernels, half an avocado, sweet peas, edamame, shredded beet or carrot, etc
- 1 cup liquid of choice, such as any juice, milk, nut milk, coconut water, etc.
- A few ice cubes, if you didn't have any frozen fruit and want it really cold
Optional add-ins include:
- 1/2 cup yogurt or ice cream
- a few dates, pitted
- a spoonful of bee pollen or flax seeed
- a handful of soaked nuts
- a few spoonfuls of nut butter
- protein powder or another additive of choice
Blend, and see if you like the consistency and taste. Adjust accordingly, pour and enjoy!