For most of my older childhood years, I lived in a part of Canada that produces all sorts of berries. Some of my friends worked as berry pickers, and I remember family outings to the pick-your-own farm. Here in the Middle East, many things grow (tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, cauliflower…) but not really berries. Our grocery stores are stocking strawberries from Egypt at the moment, which is fabulous. And last spring our nanny brought me what I believe to be elderberries, picked from her former employer’s garden. But in general, berries are a special treat for us.
It’s too bad because berries are full of antioxidants and they’re among the fruit lowest in sugar. They make an excellent snack because they don’t have to be cut or peeled, and they work beautifully in just about any dessert or salad. My heart broke a little when I discovered strawberries and blueberries on the Dirty Dozen list, so organic is the way to go when possible.
A while back, I found frozen blackberries in our supermarket, so naturally I snatched them up (purple/blue is one of the hardest colours of the rainbow for me to consistently eat). I was adding them to my morning oatmeal or chia pudding, but I found the seeds took away from my enjoyment of said oatmeal or pudding. So the poor berries got neglected in a dark corner of my freezer.
Due to my recent broth-making rampage, I’ve needed to clean out my freezer more often. When doing so, I found the poor, forgotten blackberries in that dark corner. Ashamed of letting such precious produce sit idle, I decided to give them a spin in our green juice.
Depending on how long I let it blend, I would get comments from both handsomes about the grit in the smoothie when I used blackberries. Sure, I could tell them to grin and bear it, but it’s important to me that green juice remain a positive experience in our household. So now when I’m using blackberries, I’ll pour the juice through a strainer before it goes it into cups. Depending on your grit tolerance, you might be able to skip this step.
This green juice is not very green to look at, but as you can tell from the picture of the blender, it’s 50% leafy vegetables. I like to aim for 60 or 70% greens, but it depends on (1) the sweetness of the fruit we’re using and (2) the quantity and pungency of greens we have in the fridge/freezer on any given day.
You’ll notice I’ve not given measurements in the recipe. Don’t feel frustrated; feel liberated! All of these foods are so good for you, so combine them in any amount that suits your fancy. I will say, though, that for optimum texture, I recommend using at least one ingredient in a frozen state, or adding ice.
Banana Berry Green Juice
1 ripe banana
fresh or frozen strawberries
fresh or frozen blackberries
fresh or frozen greens (spinach, parsley, chard, kale – whatever you’ve got!)
1-2 c. water, depending on desired consistency
Instructions: Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth. Enjoy!