I tasted my first smoothie down in Patzcuaro, Mexico, in the open air market. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a health drink; it was what the local folks, milling around, gossiping, and shopping, got for a quick breakfast-on-the-go.
The vendor put a cup of raw milk in his blender, added a raw egg, a tablespoon of chocolate mole and another of sugar, a dash of salt, a drop of cinnamon essential oil, and a cut up banana. Chili powder was optional.
He churned it up good, poured it back and forth between two large silver cups with much bravado and some spillage, and then delivered it to the customer in half a coconut shell. I carefully watched a dozen people slurp this concoction up enthusiastically without clasping their throats in agony and collapsing, then cautiously ordered one for myself, sans the chili powder. It was delicious, and the cinnamon oil gave my mouth a tingle like I had just brushed my teeth!
Since then I have been hooked on trying out essential oils in my smoothies. Some have turned out great and some have . . . well, let’s just say that some experiments will not be repeated!
First of all, let’s cover the basics. Do you include ice in your smoothies or not?
I almost never do; if I want my smoothie to be icy cold I refrigerate the ingredients prior to use. In the case of bananas I actually put them in the freezer; they will keep quite well, without any freezer burn, for several months. When you are ready to use one for a smoothie simply pluck it out of the freezer, dip it in tepid water for 20 seconds, and the peel will slide right off.
My Italian Sherbet Smoothie
The one exception I make about ice is my Italian sherbet smoothie. I was hoping to found a family empire on my secret recipe, like the Orange Julius people did, but I guess in the interests of spreading smoothie knowledge to the whole human race I will reveal it here. Don’t bother with a Nobel prize; I haven’t got any room for the darn thing anyways!
I start with ice pellets, not ice cubes. I don’t know if they have ice pellets where you live, but here in Virginia we can pick up a bag of ice pellets at any store. It’s not crushed ice or shaved ice, it’s pellets of ice, and the reason they have it here in Virginia is to make Mint Juleps. So if you’d rather not learn how to make my very special Italian sherbet smoothie you can go get your pellets for a couple of Mint Juleps and let the whole thing slide. Fact of the matter is, I just might join you!
So place a cup of ice pellets in the blender, add half a cup of Turbinado sugar, a pinch of sea salt, the juice of half a fresh lemon, with a few curls of the peel as zest, and 2 drops of bergamot essential oil. Yes, I said bergamot – the same stuff your great grandmother smothered herself in before a hot date. Bergamot is actually a citrus fruit, although you’ll never see anyone eating one. But the distinctive odor goes well with lemon, and the Turbinado sugar seems to tame it to where it’s only a hint, not a threat, to your taste buds. Pulse it quickly, then blend for barely 20 seconds. Pour into molds and set in freezer for at least a half hour.
Editor’s Note:- If you live in the UK, you probably have not heard of Turbinado Sugar. Use Demerera instead, it is almost identical.
Feel like a banana mai tai? Non-alcoholic, of course!
Take 2 frozen bananas, dip in tepid water to remove the peels, then slice thickly and drop in your blender. Add one cup of almond milk. Turbinado sugar to taste (I use a scant 2 tablespoons). Put in 3 drops of coconut essential oil and one drop of ginger essential oil. Blend well. Share only with an intimate friend or jogging buddy. And don’t be surprised if they wink at you, saying “Sure you didn’t put any rum in!” The jolt of the ginger oil gives people the impression they’re imbibing strong firewater.
I have dozens of other recipes, which I’ll be glad to share with you just as soon as I get back from Patzcuaro again – I’ve got quite a hankering for an open air market smoothie the way only they do it down there. Vamanos Muchachos!
About the author:
Tim Torkildson spent several years in Mexico with the pantomime troupe Los Payasos Educados. Nowadays he is a free-lance blogger for companies such as http://www.essentialoildetails.com/