Smoothies and Their Origins
Smoothies are chilled, blended drinks typically made with a combination of fresh fruit, crushed ice, frozen fruit and fruit or vegetable juices. Often a banana is included to give a thicker texture. Today frozen yoghurt, sherbet or sorbet is also used as part of the base for the same purpose.
Typically, smoothies do not contain ice cream, as this is a base for milk shakes. Drinks made from puréed fruit, based on Brazilian originals were first sold in health food stores in the West coast of America in the 1930s, but it wasn’t until the 1940s that the Waring “Blendor” cookbooks began publishing recipes for a “banana smoothie” and a “pineapple smoothee’. This name was subsequently adopted by books, magazines and newspapers to refer to any smooth product made in blenders.
At least, that’s the conventional wisdom… This ignores the fact that lassis, a drink made from yoghurt thinned with water, cooled with ice and flavoured with spices and salt or fruit, salt and honey have been made on the Indian sub-continent for at least 4000 years. In India, sharbats have also been made since the time of the Moghul emperors. These are syrups made from fruits and/or extracts of flowers and herbs that are diluted with water and ice to form a drink.
In fact, modern smoothies with their base of frozen yoghurt and fruit are more similar in terms of constituents to Indian lassis than to the fruit juice drinks of Brazil.
However, it wasn’t until the 1960s that, with the resurgence of macrobiotic vegetarianism in the USA that smoothies began to become popular. These early smoothies were essentially a blend of fruit, fruit juice, and ice. In the 1970s ice milk was added to the blend to create a ‘fruit shake’. These shakes were served at local health-food restaurants and at health-food stores, alongside tofu, fruits, carob, and other health-oriented foods.
In the early 1970s smoothies became commercialized when chains such as Smoothie King began to sell blended fruit drinks under the name of ‘smoothie’.
Blow you will find recipes for a classic fruit smoothie thickened with banana and a frozen yoghurt-based smoothie.
180ml apple juice
125ml plain yoghurt
220g frozen blackberries
Combine the fruit in a blender. Pour the yoghurt over the top then process until smooth. Pour into a chilled glass and serve.
Berry Blue Smoothie
300g frozen blueberries, slightly thawed
250g vanilla yoghurt
360ml pineapple juice
3 tbsp runny honey
15 ice cubes
Combine the blueberries, vanilla yoghurt, milk, pineapple juice and honey in a blender and process on high speed until smooth. With the blender still running add about 3 ice cubes at a time until all the ice cubes have been added and broken up into the smoothie. Continue blending until smooth then divide between four glasses and serve immediately.