How to make green smoothies without a Vitamix or Blendtec

Green smoothies are gaining in popularity in recent years, and lately, everybody seems to be making them in either a Vitamix or a Blendtec blender.  When I first heard about green smoothies, I honestly wondered if Vitamix and green smoothies were in cahoots, since the two were mentioned so frequently together.  Were green smoothies just a crazy fad created by the Vitamix company in order to sell more of their blenders?  I went and read “Green For Life” by Victoria Boutenko in order to find out more about the benefits of green smoothies and see if they lived up to all of the extravagant claims that have been made about them…

I decided that green smoothies were definitely worth making and consuming, although, I was still unsure about whether it was necessary to buy one of these expensive blenders to make them.  As my regular readers already know, I am an avid juicer and already own a juicing machine, so it seemed like overkill to purchase a new blender as well just for the purpose of making more green raw beverages for myself and my family.  So I did the cheapskate thing: I figured out how to effectively make green smoothies in a regular blender – without a Vitamix or a Blendtec.

You too can make green smoothies in a regular department-store blender – you probably even already have one lying around in your kitchen cupboards somewhere.  A cheap blender might set you back $60 or so if you have to buy one new, and trust me, it’s worth it to make these smoothies, then just get a cheap one and save your money for now.  Vitamix and Blendtec will definitely do a great job of making smooth, creamy green smoothies, but you can still honestly do this in a normal blender, too.

To make a green smoothie in a regular blender, you have to follow a few simple steps.  First, set up your blender on a firm level surface, and if your blender is prone to jiggling along on the bench, then put a damp washcloth or rubber mat down underneath it so that it stays put.  Of course, this doesn’t mean you can walk off on it while it’s blending: you should never walk off on any electrical appliance, no matter how safe you think it is.

Next, gather your ingredients, give them a good wash as always, and then – this is key for cheaper blenders – chop your ingredients up so that you don’t have any huge chunks.  The chunkiest things you will be putting in green smoothies will be stuff like celery, bok choy, and other chunky green matter – remember, green smoothies are for greens, not vegetables.  (Combining raw vegetables, which are starchy, with fruits in the smoothie can create a reaction in your stomach that gives you gas and discomfort, as well as less-than-optimal absorption of the goodness of the greens.)  So chop up your greens well so that no large chunks get thrown into the blender.

You see, the difference between a high-speed blender and a regular blender is that with a high-speed blender, the speed alone is enough to break up the food, when it hits the (fairly-blunt) blades, whereas a normal blender does rely on a sharp blade to do some of the cutting.  That’s why, when you’re using a high-powered blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec, you can just throw your celery sticks or whatever in there pretty much whole, because the force along is enough to obliterate them!  But give your regular blender a break and cut the ingredients up into pieces for it.

Here’s another tip: that is, to do the leafy greens first with plenty of water.  This will allow them to swish around in the blender and break up before you put other lumpy stuff in there.  This is especially true if you want to add frozen fruits such as frozen banana or frozen berries, for instance (some people like to freeze mango and other soft fruits also when they are in season for use in their green smoothies – delicious!).  Once you’ve got the green leafies blended up nicely with water, then you can add in the frozen fruits and let them pulverise for a minute or so.  Then, put in the bits of celery and if you are adding it, avocado.  The reason to add avocado in right at the end is that once the smoothie gets thick it will have a harder time being pushed around in your run-of-the-mill regular-powered blender.  So make it easy for the blender and avoid a lumpy smoothie – add the avocado last.

Well, that’s about it, you know!  Using this method I have made countless delicious green smoothies using an absolutely ancient blender that was handed down to me by a family member – it’s even that retro avocado green colour on the base – an original retro specimen!  It didn’t cost me a cent.

That said, when it burns out or breaks one day (the jug is made of glass, it’s that old) – I will probably buy myself a Vitamix (I am not a huge fan of Blendtec blenders because you haven’t got as much control over the blending with them as you do with a Vitamix) – but until then, I’ll be keeping my hard-earned dollars in my wallet.  :D

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About Laurie Kavanagh