Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fruit Smoothies and Milk Commentary

Nothing extraordinary, but here's a simple, reliable smoothie recipe.  The idea comes from my son's "Patrick Smoothie".  He's likes to put crushed ice in a cup and add about 1/2 milk and 1/2 orange juice. 

Strawberries are used here to give the smoothie a thick texture, in place of bananas.  Milk is used as the liquid, rather than yogurt.  It works very well when eaten freshly prepared.  Storing leftovers is less ideal, but is mentioned at the end of the recipe.

A couple of comments about milk:  First, ultra pasturized milk is showing up on the grocery shelves more and more frequently.  Is this a safety concern or for economic reasons, i.e., due to the extended shelf life?  Ultra-pasturized is on the list of substances that "may contain MSG," so I avoid it when I can conveniently do so.  I'm also not keen on killing more things in the milk that are beneficial to us with the higher heat used to ultra-pasturize.  Second, I've switched to full fat dairy.  The dietary mantra for the last few decades has been to use low fat and fat-free foods.  Sounds fine, if that's the natural state of the food.  Distrupting the balance of nutrients and structure of a whole food that contains a fat in it's natural state doesn't sound like a good idea, though.  I haven't gained any weight and feel good after eating meals.     

Store bought frozen fruit doesn't work well if it's been sitting in the freezer too long.  Whenever available, I like to use locally grown frozen fruit.  It tastes good.  Directions are given below for freezing fruit.  Storebought wins over on convenience, though. 

16 oz half and half or whole milk
12 oz or 1 1/2 c frozen strawberries, optional:  substitute part with other fruit- blueberries, peaches, other
About 1 T vanilla extract (see "vanilla extra" blogpost, store bought is fine too)

1.  Use store bought frozen fruit or freeze your own.  To freeze fruit:  Strawberries and blueberries are easy, good ones to start with.  Arrange pieces of fruit the size you'll be using on a cookie sheet (or whatever is flat and will fit in your freezer) so individual pieces don't touch each other.  When frozen, store in a ziploc bag.   Use within a year.
2.  Blend half and half and frozen fruit in a blender, using at least twice as much milk as fruit.  Two fruit combinations work well, such as strawberries and peaches or strawberries and blueberries.  It's easy to wing it with the quantities.  If the smoothie isn't mixing well, stop and stir out air bubbles and/or add some milk. 
3.  Add vanilla extract.  I stopped adding maple syrup and much prefer the fresh fruit taste.
4.  Storing leftovers:  It's great to make extra and store in 1 c plastic freezer containers, like the inexpensive Ziploc ones.  When ready to enjoy a smoothie, thaw until easy to spoon out.  I bring one at a time to work and put it in the fridge when i get there.  Two hours later I have it as a mid-morning snack.  It's the consistency of soft serve ice cream.