The Perfect Blend - Smoothies and Juices
DRINKING FLAVORED MILK AND FRUIT JUICES IS CERTAINLY NOTHING NEW, BUT TODAY’S GENERATION OF SMOOTHIES AND JUICES REFLECT A LEVEL OF SOPHISTICATION TYPICAL OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY LIFESTYLE. CONTEMPORARY TASTES TOGETHER WITH A CONCERN FOR HEALTHIER OPTIONS IN THE DIET HAVE RESULTED IN INNOVATIVE COMBINATIONS OF FLAVORS PLUS THE USE OF FRESH INGREDIENTS.
Smoothies trace their ancestry back to the milkshakes of the last century and they are probably descendants of the eighteenth-century milk punch. To begin with milk was flavored with a variety of spirits, brandy being particularly popular, then the milkshake—milk whisked with ice cream—was invented. This was further enhanced with the addition of extra flavorings, such as fruit.
With the phenomenal development of artificial flavorings and colorings, the milkshake degenerated into a chemical mix that had never been near a strawberry or banana and was often sickly sweet. It finally came of age with the smoothie, usually based on milk or other dairy products and flavored with fresh fruit or vegetables, or a combination of both. Herbs and spices often add extra zing to the mix, appealing to adult palates as well as to children and young people. Fruit and, to a lesser extent, vegetable juices have always been valued thirst quenchers. Understandably, easily squeezed fruits, such as oranges, were the most common and, generally, the juice was served on its own. Sometimes, other flavorings were incorporated, perhaps the most familiar being a dash of Worcestershire sauce in tomato juice. Gradually, the ease and convenience of commercially produced juices made fresh juice virtually obsolete in most homes.
However, one positive thing that happened at the same time was that in their search for a greater share of the market, manufacturers started to produce mixed juices, such as a combination of tropical fruits. Now, with our desire for more subtle flavors and our nutritional awareness, fresh fruit and vegetable juices, often in the form of exotic cocktails have returned to the domestic kitchen. Just because we know what is good for us doesn’t mean that we always do what is right. For example, we all know that nutritionists recommend five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and most people recognize that it is important to start the day with breakfast. However, life is lived in the fast lane these days and it is difficult to fit in shopping and cooking with the demands of work and family life.
Smoothies and juices can make a considerable contribution to resolving this dilemma. They can be made in minutes, so saving precious time in the kitchen. They are full of nutrients and count towards the “five a day”. Many are positive powerhouses and provide a real energy boost first thing in the morning or at any time when you feel that you are running out of steam. Happily, smoothies and juices are the exception to the popular rule that it won’t do you any good if it doesn’t taste nasty. On the contrary, the flavors burst deliciously in the mouth, whether sweet or savory.
Teenagers regard them as cool so they are an argument-free, easy alternative to sugar-packed fizzy sodas. Kids—even those who loathe vegetables and have to be cajoled into eating a piece of fruit—love them, especially modern milkshakes which have been reinvented in the wake of the smoothie. For those who don’t want alcoholic drinks, they offer an exciting and adult alternative at social gatherings. They can play a useful role in a calorie-controlled diet and may help anyone trying to give up smoking without gaining weight by substituting a candy-eating habit.