Water and Ice.
Water is used to thin out the smoothie. How thick you like your smoothie is a matter of personal taste. Some people like them nice and gooey – whist others prefer them runny. I’m sort of in the middle here.
Water also makes the blending process much easier. Without any liquids it’s often hard to get the blending started. So I normally use water and about half the ingredients first – just to get things going – and then add the rest of the ingredients and finish off. That way I hardly ever get a logjam and rarely need to use the tamper to get things moving again.
Instead of water you can use any liquid – such as apple juice or pomegranate juice (if you’re really wanting to pack those antioxidants in).
Ice does the same thing, once it melts, but also cools the smoothie.
This cooling normally dulls the taste of the smoothie – which can be used to make them a bit more palatable, especially for kids – or people not yet into the whole smoothie experience. This is particularly true for those smoothies that have vegetables in them. Not just green smoothies – but fruit ones that include some vegetable content (a great way to get kids to eat more greens).
When the smoothie is warm the vegetable taste is so much more noticeable. By adding ice you can often mask that taste and get away with a higher vegetable content than normal.
The same result can be had by first freezing your ingredients. I do this with things like bananas, blueberries and other fruit. And it works like a charm.
One trick with ice – is to add a little water, put it into the blender first, and give it a quick whizz. This ensures you don’t get any nasty ice lumps!
As always … try it out yourself and see what works for you and yours!