Kale Smoothie That Doesn’t Suck

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Joe Mabel [GFDL (l) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 ()], via Wikimedia Commons

So this “Kale Smoothie That Doesn’t Suck” is my grail of the month/year whatever.  I know most people come here for quasi-healthy deserts. But here is another problem that gets stuck in my craw.  I am one of those strange souls who actually likes vegetables– yet kale day after day, well, gets boring, even if it is hidden and covered up in increasingly creative ways.

After a while that underlying note of bitterness just gets to you.

Now I *know* that someone made a whole website about it, and I’ve only seen a few entries. I suck as a community member– it is challenging enough to find time to actually make this blog, let alone read 100 others every day. There are lots of great blogs out there, and I have to wonder if this will ultimately be the medium’s downfall.   To be a good blogger, means being a good community member.  And a good number of us just can’t find the time.  But once again, I massively digress.

However, because I have had the evil flu for what seems like months, and am now fighting a sinus infection which is the unholy love child of Hannibal and Kengis Khan… Not to mention the drugs I’m on as a result mean that walking across the bedroom to reach the bathroom is a whole new adventure in staying upright…  Well, let’s just say I’m not at my best, and spending days in the kitchen making yummy treats and compulsively taking pictures of everything is not at the top of my list.  I have enough trouble feeding my cats at this point.

Ironically, health concerns weren’t the reason why I started obsessing over smoothies.  I mean, part of it is. My body is such that unlike most people, if I neglect myself, instead of just getting fatter and lazier, I start getting sick. Not sick as in communicable disease, mind you, (because my immune system is quite robust, thank you very much) but my body rebels and it starts being difficult to be a contributing member of society.

They can throw drugs at me to make everything better, but honestly, it’s almost not worth it.   Indeed, it is all about how I eat. And yes, that sucks. But sometimes reality is like that. God is the Master of medicine that’s good for you but tastes icky.  I think there’s a lesson in there somewhere.

This is why I obsess over decent deserts– because if I am going to risk feeling awful later, I want it to be worth it. Also, if I can find something that I don’t pay for later, and it’s awesome, well… so much the better.  But I can’t live off of those things, as much as I might like to. I don’t really want to live off of kale smoothies, either… but it seems to be helping the antibiotic kick this vile superbug that I have got. So… I decide to start doing them… a great deal.

Not to mention that chopping kale and running a blender is about all I have the energy for these days. Seriously, the blender is better than the microwave because I have something to hold on to.  I only have a few pictures, and they are of truly disgusting smoothies… so it might be a minor mercy if I don’t post too many of them. 🙂


Anyhow, I don’t have any really good recipes– yet — but I do have some principles that I have hammered out through a bunch of experimentation. There is a good reason why I don’t have recipes– measuring kale is hard.  I’m going to have to weigh it.

Why on earth would one have to weigh kale for a stupid smoothie? Mrs. Lazy responds in my head.  Um, because texture is important. Real important. The more kale you have shoved in your blender, the denser the fiber gets in that smoothie, and… well, you just can’t predict the results otherwise. Also, I have a neat little trick for obliterating the bitterness in kale without cooking it or chemically altering the material (that I know of) at all.  It would be nice to have some hard numbers for optimal effectiveness.

So… here’s the deal. It is possible to have a kale smoothie that doesn’t suck. I have made a few of them. The trick is to get just the right balance of ingredients in there. Now let’s be clear, it’s easy to have a smoothie that has kale in it but isn’t really a kale smoothie. It’s easy to put a bunch of sweet junk (or too much of a good thing) in a smoothie to make it taste good out of sheer force of other ingredients.   For example, a lot of smoothies rely on carrot juice and apple juice as bases, and they are way, way too high in sugar for regular consumption.

But I’m also not talking about the optimal balance of water and kale, either. Because, sure, I might wind up doing that for Fridays during Lent, but hey. That’s my hair shirt, not yours. 🙂

So… my latest reasonably palatable version involves using coconut water, carrot juice and cherry juice as a base. I do NOT use even a tablespoon of the latter in it, because there just isn’t enough bulk/fiber to balance out all that sugar, so I used 1/2 tablespoon.  I then used 1/4 cup of carrot juice. I use the bottled stuff– because they carry the juice not from concentrate– nothing added but lemon juice variety at my local mega-mart.  I used a 11.2 ounce container of coconut water (unsweetened plain) though the flavored varieties are a cheap way to get more flavor out of it. I just have to be careful with pineapple and oranges, so I tend to avoid it.  Last but not least, a healthy shot of key lime juice– just because, and because I think it helps the flavor a bit. You can also use a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar if you are into that.

To be honest, even the above seemed a little too sweet. I may cut back on the cherry juice concentrate a bit– but it might work for normal people.

But this is not a recipe yet! I can’t tell you how much kale to use. You can also add protein powder or not depending on if this is is for veggie fortification , or this is a meal, or  meal like object.

So weighing it is. The method I’m planning on using is the displacement method– or at least a variation thereof.  I will measure my blender pitcher, then measure it again and use the difference. I hope that will be accurate enough– and I hope that my little food scale won’t be overwhelmed by my blender pitcher. It is glass, and quite heavy.

Now, I would say that the optimal packing density is a medium pack, but it is hard to describe or show what that means. Seriously, it is almost impossible to tell how dense it actually is, even by looking. The only way to tell is how the blender reacts while trying to reduce it to a uniform slurry.  If it struggles a little, but not enough to be alarming, that’s a dense pack. If it takes a little bit of patience, but the machine isn’t visibly struggling, that is what I define as a medium pack. A light pack just turns around in the liquid and gets incorporated pretty quickly. But again, I’ll get firmer measurements later.

Well, that’s what I have for you people today. I’m going back to bed.

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