Top Features to look for in a Smoothie Maker

Features to look for in a Smoothie Maker

When thinking about buying a smoothie maker, a few moments noting down the key features to look for will ensure you get the right model for your requirements as well as saving you time and perhaps wasted money as well.

My ‘magnificent seven’ of features to look for are:-

1. Power. Look for a model with a good, powerful motor. About 500W is the minimum for a 1.25 litre jug size, to ensure that your machine is up to the job and will last you a good long while. Many machines have 700 watts and if you go for a larger jug size, around 1.5 litres, this is probably the best size to go for. Cord storage is a neat feature that keeps everything tidy when the smoothie maker is not in use.
2. Speed. Look for a model with variable speeds. Up to five speeds is about enough and a pulse setting to give that extra burst of power when dealing with larger chunks of fruit, or to crush ice.
3. Non-slip feet. Just about essential to avoid the smoothie maker moving around when in operation.
4. A glass jug. Glass is much less likely to scratch than plastic. Scratched plastic has the potential to harbour bacteria, a glass jug can be efficiently cleaned in the dishwasher.

5. Removable parts for cleaning. Taps and blades should be removable for ease of cleaning. Look for a model with dishwasher safe parts.
6. A filter or strainer. This is the finishing touch to the perfect smoothie for me, a filter that will remove any unwanted pips or seeds.
7. A stirring stick. Choose a model that enables a stirring stick to be inserted through the lid to dislodge any pieces stuck to the sides to ensure that everything gets thoroughly blended. Obviously, this process is done with the motor switched OFF!

My top three recommended models which score high on the features list and which are available in UK are,

Budget Model
COOKWORKS SIGNATURE JUG BLENDER
Price around £25
This is a 700W model. It has five speeds and a pulse setting. It has a 1.5 litre glass jug, non-slip feet and a neat cord storage.
Mid-price Model
Philips HR2094 Aluminium Chrome/Black Blender 750w
Price around £65
This model has a powerful 750W motor with multispeed and pulse functions. It has a filter and a 1.5 litre glass jug. It looks very smart with it’s non-scratch aluminium finish and has very smart illuminated switches. It also comes with a free recipe book.
Top-end Model
Kitchenaid Artisan Blender
This KitchenAid 5-Speed Artisan Blender is currently on sale, making it a fantastic buy! Ithas a powerful 0.9 horsepower motor and a 56 oz. contoured pitcher. Superfast blending thanks to the patented KitchenAid blender blade which strikes at 4 planes for optimum performance. It also has a commercial-grade polycarbonate pitcher that is super -tought and lightweight and is resistant to extremes of temperature as well as scratches and staining. Push button ice crushing, pulse feature for any speed so you can puree hot soups or chop hard vegetables and fruits as well as making batters, smoothies and shakes.

Top Tips for the Perfect Smoothie

Blending a Smoothie.

Add your ingredients to the smoothie maker jug and make sure that the lid is correctly positioned before you start.  Blend the ingredients for anything between 10 seconds and 45 seconds, depending on the fruit or vegetables you are using, how full your mixing jug is and the power of the motor on your Smoothie Maker.  The point you want to reach is when ALL the contents have been completely liquidised and the mixture is circulating from the top down to the bottom as well as round.

Top Smoothie Maker Tips

If you fill your blender jug too full, your mixture will never get to proper circulation, no matter how powerful your motor is.  Make sure your model has the key features as explained in Features to look for When you Buy a Smoothie Maker.

If adding seeds or nuts to a smoothie mixture, add the liquid first, then the seeds and/or nuts and blend really well before adding the fruits.

If you are adding any liquid extract like vanilla or almond, this always goes in last, give a final ‘whizz’ just before serving.

For extra creaminess, be sure to freeze the fruit overnight for a perfect breakfast smoothie.

frozen fruitIf making a larger quantity of mixture than you can drink at one time, freeze in a suitable container and thaw in the refrigerator.

Make smoothie ice lollies.  The kids will love them on a hot day and they will be getting a nutritious snack, not a store bought ice full of E numbers.

For convalescent children and adults, a fruit smoothie is a delicious way to tempt them back into taking in some high quality nutrition, packed with vitamins.

Basic Dairy Alternative Smoothies

Liquid: 1-2 cups of the liquid of your choice, choose almond, rice or soy milk.  If you are calorie counting, you can use any of these in a half and half mix with water. 

You can also use fruit juice but it would be best to use organic juice or, if not available, check the pack for unwanted additives such as extra sugar or colourings.  Add to this, ¼ cup of live probiotic yoghourt (low fat if you are calorie counting). Probiotics are great for boosting your immune system and are great for your digestive health

Additions: You do not have to have any additions, but you might like to consider adding a scoop of protein powder and/or a couple of tablespoons of ground flax seed for the valuable omega-3 oils.  If you have IBS or other digestive complaint, you may like to add 1 scoop of L-glutamine powder.

Fruit: At least ½ cup of frozen fruit – you can make this a mixture of any fruits you fancy.

Blend your smoothie and enjoy!

Four Key Elements of a Basic Smoothie Maker Recipe

The combinations of fruits and vegetables for smoothies are almost infinite! You will develop your own favourites after trying some recipes and a lot of experimenting, which is great fun! 

If you prefer to create your own personal smoothie maker masterpiece from scratch, start with the four basic elements here.

The four elements of a delicious smoothie

1.Liquid

You need to add liquid to your mix to make the smoothie into a drinkable mixture. Fruit pulp alone would be too thick! So, start off by adding about 1 to 2 cups (or 250 – 500 mls), (or ½ – 1 pint) of liquid.
What liquid should I use?
green teaFruit juice could be your base but may be rather sweet.  For a really healthy smoothie, packed with antioxidants, you could use Green Tea. This can be made double strength and allowed to cool before use.
Cows’ milk is ok but many of us have a degree of lactose intolerance and cows’ milk, whilst an excellent source of protein and calcium, also has cholesterol.
Soy milk is an excellent alternative, not only is it a great source of protein and calcium like cows milk but also contains isoflavones which are known to help lower cholesterol levels. It also has no lactose or cholesterol.
Almond milk or Rice milk are good alternatives too.
Natural yoghourt (made from cows’ or sheeps’ milk) can also be used as the liquid portion. Natural yoghourt has less lactose than milk and choosing a live yoghourt with prebiotics and probiotics will further benefit the health of your digestive tract.

2. Additions

This is a matter of personal preference. You may wish to add a proprietary vitamin and mineral supplement, in this case, be sure not to exceed the daily recommended intake of vitamins and minerals – read the guidelines on the pack.

You may wish to choose one with additional fibre or perhaps you may be looking to increase your protein intake so you could add a scoop of your favourite protein powder to the mix. A couple of tablespoons of Flax seed will add essential omega-3 oils and about 4 grams of fibre.

frozen fruit3. Your fruits and/or vegetables

Start out simple, for a more creamy result, fruits (except citrus fruits) can be frozen before being used in your smoothie recipe.

4. Ice

Ice is a great addition, especially if you are not using pre-frozen fruits in your smoothie maker.  Ice will not only make your smoothie cooler, but will also give it a better texture.