Smoothies? These and fresh fruit juices are what we drink a lot of in Brazil, given its hot climate and natural abundance of a wide variety of fruits — some of which I bet you have never heard of! The nutritious and creamy Açaí Smoothie is one of the most popular nowadays. Smoothies are easy to make, I know! The question is, do you know how to make the perfect one? If not, then today we will learn what are the perfect components, ratios, and latest trends (such as flavorings and boosters), among others.
I can still remember as a child growing up in Brazil that the most popular smoothies were banana, papaya, guava, and avocado — due to their creamy textures and lovely tropical flavors… and I enjoyed all of them both at breakfast and at snack times.
Although many other fruits are used as a base for smoothies nowadays, açaí smoothie have become the latest craze because the berries are conceived of as a superfruit. As if that weren’t enough, supplements (i.e. guaraná powder) and plant-based proteins such as wheat germ and nuts have been added into the mixture. Even leafy vegetables have started to become more common as smoothie additives in the last 3 to 5 years. Milk is still the liquid that most smoothies are based on, although it isn’t the only one anymore: fresh coconut water and yogurt have been appearing more and more often in the blends.
Well, what really makes a perfect smoothie are the components and their proportions, as we will now see:
- LIQUID(S) — Milk, dairy-free alternatives such as soy and almond milk, fruit juices, low-fat coconut milk, coconut water, tea, and yogurt, either used alone or in combination (e.g. milk and yogurt or fruit juice and coconut water). Liquids should be added to the blender before the fruits/vegetables in order to avoid damage to the blade. Although cream cheese is of course not a liquid, when it is mixed into a smoothie along with a liquid, it provides a wonderfully creamy texture — a delicious example is our Piña Colada Cheesecake Smoothie!!!
- FRUIT(S) & LEAFY VEGETABLE(S) — bananas, açaí and other berries, mangoes, avocados, peaches, papayas, guavas, pineapples, plums, nectarines, grated apples or pears, and melons provide the creamiest textures. Although the ratio varies depending upon which fruit is used, the general rule of thumb for the best ratio is 1 part fruit to 2 parts liquid. However, the most important thing is for the final texture to always be creamy and smooth. Since fresh açaí berries are not available in the US, we used frozen açaí pulp to make our açaí smoothie, also blending in bananas for a creamier texture.
- SWEETENER — sugar, honey, maple syrup, sugar substitute, or agave syrup. The correct ratio varies according to each person’s individual taste and also according to which type of sweetener. For example, since honey has a slightly higher percentage of fructose than sugar, it tastes sweeter, and less is required for equivalent sweetness. The amount of various sugar substitutes will also depend on the type of sweetener, as each has a different sweetness profile.
- FLAVORING — These are optional components since the base — which is the fruit/vegetable– already contains flavor! Cocoa powder, coffee, vanilla extract, a few drops or small amount of citrus juice such as lemon or orange, mint, cinnamon, nutmeg and other spices are some items that can really put a tasty spin on a smoothie; however, take care to not let them overpower the fruit that is used. There are also some flavorings that don’t pair well with certain fruits… such as coffee with guava. But almost all the flavorings mentioned above do go well with banana. Try our banana coffee chai smoothie!
- BOOSTER(S) — These are also optional components, yet they seem to be a must for gym-goers! Among them are peanut butter, supplements such as guaraná and açaí powder, and plant-based proteins such as wheat germ, oats, flaxseeds, and nuts.
- ICE — if frozen fruit is used, the addition of ice becomes unnecessary.
Well, enjoy our healthy açaí smoothie and start making the perfect smoothie today!!!
CURIOSITY: As you can already imagine, the electric blender gave birth to the smoothie. But did you know that health food stores on the West Coast of the U.S. began selling “puréed fruit drinks” in the 1930’s, based on recipes that originated in Brazil?
- 1 to 1-1/4 cups milk (whole, fat-free, almond, soy, etc)
- 6 oz plain or Greek yogurt
- 7 oz (200 g) frozen açaí pulp (available at Sprouts, Whole Foods, and some Latin Markets)
- 2-3 large bananas, peeled and sliced
- ½ cup sugar (or honey or other sweetener to taste)
- 2 to 4 Tablespoons wheat germ (Optional!!! Skip if you are gluten-intolerant)
- Blend all ingredients in a blender until the açaí smoothie is creamy and smooth. Pour açaí smoothie into medium glasses and serve while still chilled. Enjoy!