The Smoothie Experiment: Banna Berry

Wherever you go, whatever cooking channel you watch, they’re out there: Smoothies. It’s the new health kick. Stuff your blender full of kale, goji berries, ice cubes, micro greens, blend, and voila! Health in a glass. Or so it seems.

A tall glass of smoothie! © Miyo Wratten 2013

A tall glass of smoothie! © Miyo Wratten 2013

I’m always really wary of buying into all the newest health fads, but I do like the reminder about how delicious smootheis are, and they’re perfect for summer: A nice alternative to ice cream. Plus, you can customize them to whatever your flavor and diet preferences happen to be.

I remember these from the 80s, honestly, when the health benefits of yogurt and tofu were being touted all over the place. Plop in some frozen yogurt or tofu into a blender with some ice cubes and fruit, and there you had it. Funny how these things come back around!

Well, I took a ‘cheat’ I remember my mother using when she made smoothies for us, and I’ve applied them to our updated version that my children and I enjoyed this morning for our snack.

Our frozen berries for the smoothies. © Miyo Wratten 2013

Our frozen berries for the smoothies. © Miyo Wratten 2013

My mother used to take the fruits she was going to use in the drinks and freeze them the night before. That way, instead of using ice cubes or ice cream (ice cubes water down the flavor, and in my mother’s world, ice cream was just too full of fat and sugar — and she was right, darn it), the frozen fruits would add the cold and the texture needed to thicken it.

We had a few bananas that were in danger of getting too ripe to use, so I chopped them up, tossed them into a resealable plastic bag and put them in the freezer. The kids and I also went out into our yard yesterday afternoon and fully took advantage of the early stage of berry-picking season: We got raspberries and black caps from our yard. So awesome! We didn’t get very many, but combined with some blueberries we had left over, we got a decent amount. Definitely enough to include in our treat. The berries also got tossed in the freezer.

Using frozen bananas and berries instead of ice cubes helps keep the smoothie from getting watered down. © Miyo Wratten 2013

Using frozen bananas and berries instead of ice cubes helps keep the smoothie from getting watered down. © Miyo Wratten 2013

I updated the recipe by adding finely ground flax seed which I ground myself, for a little extra fiber and health benefits that my kids didn’t even notice!

You can try this recipe out. I did end up using milk because I was all out of my almond milk, so anyone wishing to make that replacement, I know you can, and it would be delicious, and vegan! Also helping to keep things vegan, you’ll probably want to use something other than the white granulated sugar that I used.

Here’s the recipe, I hope you enjoy!

Banana Berry Smoothie (Serves 2 children and 2 adults generously)
*Note: You may want to do step 1 of this recipe the night before you plan to make the smoothies so your bananas and berries have enough time to freeze completely before use. 

© Miyo Wratten 2013

© Miyo Wratten 2013


3 large, ripe bananas, cut into 1-inch rounds
1/2 cup fresh berries of your choice (we used a mixture of raspberries, black caps and blueberries)
1/4 cup finely ground flax seeds
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups 2% milk or milk replacement (soy or almond milk would work great)

1) Peel and cut bananas. Place in resealable plastic bag and place in the freezer for a few hours until frozen solid. I left mine overnight. Rinse berries and also place in resealable bag and freeze until frozen solid. Avoid using pre-packaged frozen berries as they sometimes have sugars added to them. Using fresh berries and freezing them yourself allows you to control the amount of sugar that goes into this treat. 

I ground the flax seed until it was pretty fine. When I was done, it looked like brown sugar. © Miyo Wratten 2013

I ground the flax seed until it was pretty fine. When I was done, it looked like brown sugar. © Miyo Wratten 2013

2) For flax seeds, if you have the means, grind them in a coffee bean grinder until they turn into a super-fine powder. I did mine until it looked like brown sugar. This helped avoid any graininess and hid them in the smoothie a little better. Add ground flax seeds into blender along with all of the ingredients.

3) Alternate between the “ice crush” and “liquefy” settings on your blender. Pause occasionally to push fruit around with a spatula to make sure they are all reaching the blade. Continue to crush and liquefy until the mixture reaches a smooth texture and has no more large lumps. Pour into glasses and serve. Enjoy!

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