We often have so many delicious and healthy fruits, as well as some other amazing ingredients that you just don’t know which one to choose first.
Fortunately, there is a way to experience them all at once. You can make a smoothie! And this method is really gaining so much popularity in recent times.
However, our lives are becoming so fast nowadays, that some people just don’t have the time to devote to daily tasks in the kitchen, so the question arises of freezing smoothies to make it last longer.
And yes, smoothies can certainly be frozen, but you have to know some tips and tricks for them to work perfectly. And of course, pros and cons to start with.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Freezing Smoothies?
You certainly can freeze smoothies and you definitely should do that in certain situations, but every food process has its advantages and disadvantages, which is important to be aware of before making a decision.
So, let’s see if this is worth it for you.
• Waste Reduction: The first and most obvious advantage is the fact that you will reduce waste. Freezing smoothies can be a great way to use up fruits and veggies that might otherwise go bad before you have the chance to enjoy them.
• Convenience: By freezing smoothies, you will save time and effort. You can make a large batch and store it in the freezer, and this will allow you to grab a healthy drink when you’re in a hurry.
• Versatility: You can freeze all kinds of smoothies, from green ones to dairy-based smoothies. Some will freeze better than others, but in general, neither will go to waste if you do things right.
• Texture And Flavor Changes: You have to be aware that no type of food will retain quality 100% after freezing. The same goes for smoothies whose texture slightly deteriorates due to the ice crystals, and some ingredients lose their flavor potency.
• Separation: Some types of smoothies may separate due to the freezing and thawing process, which can leave them with a slightly deteriorated texture and consistency. This is especially the case with dairy-based smoothies.
• Slight Loss Of Nutrients: Although it is nothing special really, I have to say that your smoothie will slightly lose nutrients after being frozen and defrosted, which presents a slight disadvantage.
How To Best Prepare Your Smoothie For Freezing?
To minimize these risks, the best thing you can do is to go through the process the right way. Before you freeze it, it is important to prepare it for the process. And the best way to do that is to choose the right ingredients.
So, here are some of the best ingredients to choose for your smoothie if you want to freeze it eventually:
• Ripe Banana: Bananas that are ripe freeze quite well and are great for smoothie packs or make-ahead smoothies.
• Frozen Fruit: Frozen fruit, including berries, mango, peaches, and pineapple, are perfect for freezing smoothies because they retain their flavor and texture after thawing very well.
• Greens: Leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, are perfect for freezing because they won’t affect the flavor of your smoothie.
• Nut Butter: Nut butter, such as peanut and almond butter, helps to keep the smoothie thick and smooth after freezing.
• Milk Alternatives: Some alternative types of milk, including coconut milk or almond milk, freeze quite well and won’t separate after thawing.
• Natural Sweeteners: Natural sweeteners, such as honey or maple syrup, do not just add sweetness and nutrition, but they also freeze well and don’t affect the texture of the smoothie.
Can You Freeze Protein-Based Smoothies?
I hear this question a lot and many people are confused about whether or not they should freeze smoothies made with protein powder.
Well, protein-based smoothies tend to freeze well, but not in all cases. Namely, whey protein can become grainy and clumpy when frozen, which can result in a lumpy texture when the smoothie is thawed.
Plant-based proteins may freeze better than whey protein and can be freely added to the smoothie before freezing. So my recommendation is to use those instead.
Can Yogurt Smoothies Be Frozen?
It is similar to yogurt-based smoothies. Some freeze better than others, although all types can be frozen.
Namely, you can freeze smoothies made with plain yogurt or frozen yogurt and it won’t do any harm. However, regular yogurt may become a bit grainy or watery when frozen, which can affect the texture of the smoothie after thawing.
So, it is much better to use a thicker version of yogurt. I would recommend you use Greek yogurt because it has a thicker consistency and is less likely to separate when frozen and thawed.
How To Freeze Blended Smoothies Properly?
Now that you know about the pros and cons, as well as which ingredients are best for frozen smoothies, it is time to learn how to go through the freezing process the right way. And there is not just one way to do that, but actually 3 great methods.
Freeze Your Smoothies In Airtight Containers
This method is actually quite simple and it requires just a few easy steps.
STEP 1: You first need to make your smoothie by simply placing all the required ingredients in the blender and start blending. The smoothie is done when it is in a drinkable form.
STEP 2: Portion your smoothies into airtight containers, so that you can use the right amount when you decide to do so.
It is not good to freeze a lot of smoothies in one container because you will have to freeze and defrost them multiple times and that will lead to deteriorated quality.
STEP 3: Seal the container properly so that no air can enter and prevent any other odors from seeping in.
STEP 4: Label the container with the exact date of storage and place it in the freezer.
Ice Cube Tray Method
This is a great method because you can either choose to enjoy the smoothie ice cubes, or you can allow the cubes to thaw to room temperature, then simply give the smoothie a shake.
There is really nothing complicated when it comes to this method. All you have to do is blend your preferred ingredients into the smoothie.
Once you do that, pour it into an ice cube tray so that each cube space is evenly filled.
After that, all you need to do is to put the ice cube tray in the freezer and let the cubes stay there until they are totally frozen.
After that, you can either consume them or transfer them into bags for long-term storage.
Freeze It In A Mason Jar
You can also freeze your smoothies in mason jars and the process is quite simple as well. There is only one thing you should be aware of when going through this process.
Since a mason jar is made from glass, it can break if you don’t do things properly.
Namely, if you fill it to the brim, there won’t be any space for air to expand, so the risk of breaking will increase.
Because of that, you won’t fill it to the top but instead, leave about ½ inch of space below the rim.
After you do that, you can freely transfer it to the freezer without any worry.
Is There Any Other Way To Freeze Your Nutritious Blend?
Well, if you have already blended your ingredients into smoothies, these three previously explained methods are the best ones. But, there is a catch. You don’t always need to blend those ingredients ahead of freezing them.
You can also freeze some ingredients and then blend them when you are ready to enjoy your delicious smoothie.
From a flavor and nutrition point of view, this method is even better because flavor and nutrients are maintained at a higher level.
So here is what you need to do:
STEP 1: You first have to prepare your preferred ingredients by putting them in one bowl and washing them properly.
STEP 2: Slice those fruits into the preferred size and mix them together carefully.
STEP 3: Take a few baking trays and transfer those fruit slices onto the trays, so that they aren’t touching each other.
STEP 4: Carefully place the trays in the freezer. Make sure there is nothing on top of them and that they are laid flat. Leave them there for a few hours until the fruits are frozen.
STEP 5: Once they are frozen, tip those fruit slices back into the bowl to combine. Mix the ingredients together so that each bag has an even mix of fruit.
STEP 6: Finally, you can transfer those fruit slices to freezer bags so that each bag contains roughly 125g of fruit which is equivalent to one smoothie portion.
STEP 7: Label the bags with the exact storage dates and put them in the freezer.
Can You Freeze Smoothies In Ziplock Bags?
Although it is not the best way to freeze your smoothie, you can also use the ziplock bag method.
It is not the best method because you will eventually have to transfer your smoothie from the tight bag to a container and that can be a tricky process considering the smoothie consistency.
Besides that, when using a bag to freeze something, you have to remove all air from it first to avoid quick deterioration of the quality.
You’ll have to pull out the air by pressing the half-opened bag until all the excess air is removed.
I usually leave a small space open and put the bottom part of the bag in cold water. The pressure from the water will get rid of all the excess air in the bag.
Once you are done removing the air, you can put the bag (or bags) flat on a baking or cookie sheet and freeze. This will help with storage.
How Long Does Frozen Smoothies Last In The Freezer?
The exact shelf life of smoothies may vary depending on the types of ingredients used to make them, as well as storage methods. Generally, “food stored constantly at 0 °F will always be safe. Only the quality suffers with lengthy freezer storage”, as stated by the USDA.
However, in most cases, smoothies will remain good if stored properly in the freezer for up to 3 months.
This is especially the case if you stored the smoothie in a mason jar or Tupperware container because those are the best options.
On the other hand, if you store them in a ziplock bag, my recommendation is to leave them in the freezer for only up to 1-2 months because they tend to lose quality more quickly if stored that way.
When it comes to ingredients, fruit-based and vegetable-based smoothies tend to freeze well and you can leave them in the freezer for up to 3 months without worrying that they will deteriorate.
The same goes for nut butter-based smoothies.
Smoothies that are based on dairy products are a different story. They tend to separate or become grainy when thawed and that even worsens the longer they stay in the freezer.
So, I would recommend you to consume them as fast as you can and don’t let them stay in the freezer for more than 1-2 months.
Do You Have To Thaw It Afterwards?
Whether or not you will thaw your smoothie depends on the freezing process, as well as on your personal preferences. According to the USDA, there are there safe ways of thawing food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave.
If you’ve frozen your smoothie in an airtight container or a bag, it is recommended to transfer it to the fridge overnight until it defrosts properly.
If you use the ice cube tray method, it is up to you to decide. If you want to thaw it, you will have to transfer it to a larger glass with a lid (I recommend a mason jar) and put the jar in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
After that time frame, you can give the glass a shake and your smoothie will be ready to drink.
However, you can also transfer the cubes directly to the blender, add extra milk, and blend until it is smooth enough for drinking.
When it comes to smoothies that have been stored in the mason jars, you just need to transfer them from the freezer to the fridge and let them thaw for a few hours or one hour minimum.
Finally, freezer-pack smoothies don’t need to be thawed. You can simply transfer the frozen ingredients to the blender, add the liquid called for in the recipe, blend, and enjoy.
What About Refreezing Your Smoothie?
Although you technically can refreeze your smoothie, I wouldn’t recommend that at all.
There are actually a few good reasons for that. Namely, once you freeze your smoothie, the water in the fruits and veggies forms ice crystals, which can damage the cell walls and affect the texture.
Once they are thawed, those ice crystals melt, causing the water to separate, resulting in a watery and unappetizing texture. When this happens once, it won’t do too much damage.
However, if it happens twice, it will certainly ruin your delicious blend.
Aside from that, the freezing and thawing processes tend to break down nutrients within fruits, veggies, and other ingredients.
Refreezing the smoothie can therefore result in even more nutrient loss, which can compromise the overall health benefits.
Finally, there is a higher risk of harmful bacteria growth. Namely, once the smoothie is thawed, harmful bacteria slowly begin to grow. When you freeze it once again, those bacteria won’t disappear, but it will just go into some sort of hibernation state.
So, when you thaw it again, you will have a smoothie with even more bacteria that can cause a lot of damage to your health if you consume it.
So, no, do not refreeze your smoothie.