Despite what the calendar says, I always feel the new year really begins with Spring. The weather starts to warm up, things start to grow again – the markets are flush with fresh produce – and here in Japan, the plum and then cherry trees start to bloom. The whole mood of the country seems to lighten and everyone ventures outside for hanami flower viewing sessions under the trees, which generally involves strolling or picnicking in the daytime and serious partying in the evening.
Around this time of year, there are a couple of smoothies I like to make. The ingredients are not especially “Japanese” but for me at least, they capture the color and feel of the season and happen to taste great. They are also really easy to prepare if you are just getting started with smoothies. The first one, Somei yoshino, is named after the most popular type of cherry tree and the second, Yaezakura, a variety that has particularly large blossoms and plentiful petals.
• Two large bananas
• Handful of strawberries
• Rice milk to consistency
• Little (fresh) ginger
• Honey to taste
There’s not much to making this. Just put everything in a blender, whizz and then add more liquid for the desired consistency. If you can get the fresh, young ginger at the start of the season, it makes all the difference.
Fresh ginger is much sweeter and less fibrous than ginger that has been stored. You can actually just cut bits off the stem and eat them without that ginger burn.
• One large banana
• Large palmful of cashews
• Handful of dried cranberries
• Water to consistency
• Honey to taste
The instructions for this one are basically the same as above but if you have time, soak the cashews and cranberries in water for about 15, 20 minutes. This will help to make the texture a little… well, smoothier.
Store any leftover brew in the fridge using an airtight, preferably glass container – same for the Somei yoshino. It should remain good for a couple of days.
Share your knowledge:
Any ideas for improving on these two smoothies? Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe you would like to share? Feel free to leave a comment below.