Smoothies are great alternatives for meals. It can be used for weight loss, and for overall well-being. One thing that really irritates smoothie drinkers is that sometimes smoothies lose their creamy, thick consistency and separate when left for some time.
This leads to the liquid portion being left on the top and the denser particles settling at the bottom. The taste and the experience of drinking smoothies get completely compromised by this phenomenon.
So is there a way to stop smoothies from separating?
Some of the ways you can use to reduce the tendency to separate are by using fruits and vegetables with soluble fibers rather than insoluble fibers. This means ingredients such as bananas, mangoes, peaches pears, etc can be used rather than apples, celery beets, etc. Fibrous leafy greens can also lead to separation as they do not mix well with the rest of the common ingredients.
Do not let the smoothies sit for a long time as the particles tend to settle down. This also is fastened by the oxidation process that happens when smoothies are left open.
Using natural emulsifiers that can keep the ingredients together (for example bananas, yogurt, or avocado, etc.) can prevent smoothies from separating.
Lime juice can be used to reduce oxidation. Another way is to freeze the smoothies that are already blended in airtight mason jars and use them when you travel or whenever there is a time-lapse that you expect between blending and drinking.
Let’s first understand why smoothies tend to separate. An insight into underlying causes will help us take necessary actions.
Why do Smoothies separate?
Smoothies separate due to the following reasons:
Smoothies are mixes of Different foods
Remember that smoothies are mixtures of foods that are of different densities and if you let them sit for some time they will separate.
This leads to the heavier particles settling down first and then the light and so on. Eventually, you will be left with liquid on top and heavier particles at the bottom which might be in a sludgy, gel-like form. Not an attractive sight!
Check out this article to find out what are the essential ingredients for your smoothie – What to put in a smoothie?
Fruit juices tend to separate fast when left aside
When you make fruit or vegetable juice, the fruit/vegetable particles which are crushed, exist in the juice, and being insoluble they settle down. This is because of insoluble fiber in some fruits and vegetables which do not mix.
Take for example apple juice. You will find that the apple particles will tend to settle down at the bottom very soon if you leave them untouched for a while. This is not the case with say when you use bananas, pears, or mangoes.
Bananas, mangoes, and pears have what are called soluble fibers which mix well with the rest of the ingredients. These tend to be creamier and do not separate easily.
Adding Leafy Greens can make the Smoothie separate
You will find that green smoothies also tend to separate faster because the greens also have insoluble fiber which makes it separate. This is by far the major reason why you find your smoothies separating. When there are items that do not mix with each other the smoothies will separate faster.
If you add more fibrous vegetables for example string beans or celery you will find that it will not mix with other ingredients well. This also leads it to separate faster. This also happens with seed powders as they remain separate from the rest of the mixture, almost always.
The oxidization process has a hand in the separation
The next reason why the smoothie separates is that it might have been left outside for long. Leaving it outside will lead to oxidization and will speed up the process of separation.
Too much water can cause separation
If your smoothies are too watered down they will separate faster. This usually happens when you have added ice to the smoothies and then the ice melts increasing the water content and then speeding the separation process.
How to prevent your smoothies from separating
The major ways to prevent separation are as follows:
Do not water down your Smoothies
Ensure that it remains thick and creamy when blended. Do not add ice to the smoothies if you want them to stay long without separating. Ice, when it melts, will make the smoothie watered down. You can always add ice to it later.
Incorporate Soluble Fibres
If you are using fruits then it is better to choose ones with soluble fibers such as mangoes, bananas, pears, Kiwi, etc. If you add leafy greens, apples, beets, and other fruits or vegetables which have insoluble fiber then it would be good to add an emulsifier too. This will help it retain its thickness and prevent separation to a great extent.
There are some natural emulsifiers like banana, avocado, tofu, and yogurt which can help keep the ingredients of the smoothie mix together and avoid separation.
Another way is to also add frozen berries and fruits while blending. This enables the mixture to be smooth and stay together for a long. Too much liquid in the smoothie can make it separate faster. If your smoothie is too watery you can add more frozen fruit or yogurt that makes it thick as well as creamy and prevents separation for long.
If you are going to drink your smoothies much later it would be better to keep them cold in airtight containers. When you full in airtight containers ensure that you fill the containers to the very top so that the air is prevented from being trapped inside. If the air is trapped it will lead to oxidization which changes the color of the smoothie (I wrote a full blog post about how to prevent smoothie from turning brown) and also speeds up the settling down of the different particles in the smoothie.
Try to add bananas, tofu, yogurts, or avocados to your smoothie. These act as emulsifiers and can keep all the ingredients together. They can greatly enhance the taste too.
Don’t add these to your Smoothies
Try to avoid adding too many powdery ingredients to your smoothies as this can fasten the separation if not mixed in well enough.
Add only one set of leafy greens and fibrous fruits as more will not blend well and definitely would need an emulsifier.
Do not add too much ice to a smoothie. As the ice melts, consequently, the water content in the smoothie increases.
A good way to reduce oxidization is to add lemon juice to your smoothie. Since lemon juice contains vitamin C it will help slow down the rate of oxidization. If your smoothies unexpectedly turn out watery, what you can do is add something that adds a creamy texture like nut butter, honey, yogurt, etc.
Adding frozen bananas, strawberries, mangoes, peaches, and pears will allow it to have creamy textures for a longer time. Other things that could be good are silken tofu, greek yogurt, and coconut oil.
Get a good Blender
If your blender is not powerful enough it will not crush fully. This will result in a blend of fine particles and heavier particles. The heavier particles settle down. Check your blender and see if it is powerful, otherwise, consider getting a good blender that has more power.
I’m using the Ninja HB152, which is the most powerful and convenient that I’ve found for the best price (check out the latest price on Amazon – Ninja HB152)
If you want to explore other options, you may like my blender’s review of a different price category:
Some more little tips and tricks
Another way to avoid drinking a separated smoothie while traveling or after a workout is to always keep your smoothie ingredients in ziplock bags in your freezer. Put the mix of all ingredients in a freezer and freeze. When you actually need it you can blend it and drink it.
Another trick is to blend and freeze the blended smoothie. When you need the smoothie, thaw it out and consume it. It will be a fresh smoothie by the time it’s thawed and ready to drink. For this, you can blend smoothies ahead and put them into mason-type jars, and freeze them. Then, when you want to drink the smoothie, you can take it out and consume it when it has fully melted.
In conclusion, smoothie drinkers can have their smoothies without separation. Smoothie separations should not be a problem anymore for the smoothie enthusiast if the above techniques are used. Wish you all a happy smoothie experience!