My parents were here last weekend and we all took a trip to the farmers market together. I love the farmers market and was so excited to stock up on some fresh berries to freeze for smoothies. As we were walking around, my mom asked how I froze my berries and it kind of hit me – people might not know the basics that the Internet assumes we all know. I certainly didn’t when I first started eating healthier!
Smoothie recipes so often say “frozen bananas” or “almond milk ice cubes.” I freeze my own fruit almost every week, so it comes naturally to me now, but it hasn’t always been that way. I remember googling “how to freeze a banana” when I started my health kick. I don’t really do it the same way as Google taught me, but if I hadn’t had looked, I would have thrown an entire banana in the freezer, peel and all, which isn’t the best way to do it (in case you’re curious, throwing a whole banana in the freezer will make it it super ripe, mushy, black and wrinkly).
Maybe others are in the same boat? I honestly figured a lot of this out on my own by trial-and-error, so I thought I’d share some of my basic how tos here.
These are my absolute go-to smoothie ingredient. Frozen bananas make every smoothie creamy, delicious and sweeter; not to mention the joy they bring to my life in that they’re the base for my instant ice cream. To freeze, peel a ripe banana, break in half and place it in a freezer bag. If you’re not using a high-speed blender, I’d recommend slicing up the banana before freezing. That way, you’re blender won’t have as hard of a time breaking it down. They’ll turn brown over time, so I freeze a bunch or two at a time, which lasts me a couple weeks or so.
Berries are another favorite to have on hand. While you can buy these in the freezer aisle, it’s so easy to buy your own berries and freeze them yourself – and it’s cheaper! In the last month, I’ve frozen blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, marionberries, strawberries and more. They’re an awesome ingredient to have on hand.
All you have to do is put the berries in a colander, rinse and drain well, pat them dry with a paper towel, then place in a container or into freezer-safe baggies. If you’re using strawberries, make sure to hull (remove the green top) and slice them before freezing. When I was freezing this last batch, I measured half a cup of berries into each snack bag to help with portion control; when making my smoothie, I simply pour the contents of a snack bag in and that’s it. DONE. A quick note: if you’re using snack bags that don’t say freezer safe, I pile them all into one big freezer-safe bag or container, just to be safe.
When I first got into smoothies, I used frozen greens a lot. I love thick smoothies, so it made a difference; lately, though, I just use what fresh greens I have on hand. If something’s going bad soon, I’ll wash it, de-stem (for kale and spinach, at least), then throw it in a freezer-safe bag before freezing.
04. Almond milk ice cubes
These are absolutely genius and have changed my smoothie (and iced latte game) completely. All you do is pour almond milk into ice cube trays and freeze them until solid. The kicker is that when you use these instead of regular ice, your drinks won’t get watered down; instead, they’ll taste more creamy and delicious as time goes on.
05. Already Frozen Extras
These are things that I buy already frozen: acai, coconut meat, and out-of-season produce or fruits that I don’t want to take the time to cut like peaches, cherries, pomegranate seeds – random things like that. I only have so much patience when it comes to washing, chopping and storing fruits!
So there ya have it: my top frozen ingredients for smoothies and how to freeze them. Hopefully this helps you not only learn how to freeze some smoothie staples, but gives you a glimpse into my freezer. Seriously – it’s 95% smoothie ingredients! 😂