Springtime Smoothie with Aloe Vera

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It’s finally Spring and it’s really warming up here in Mandeville and I am so grateful! To ring in Spring and to prepare for summer, I’ve made the ultimate Springtime smoothie with aloe vera.

If you’re Jamaican, I bet you’re pretty skeptical right now. Aloe vera? In a drink? How can that be good? I know all those questions are going through your mind. But it is possible! All you gotta do is remove that awful bitter flavour. Before I explain how to do that (and it’s quite simple), let’s talk a bit about aloe vera.

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So aloe “vera” is a succulent plant that is just one type of aloe (aloe being a species of over 500 plants) and it is widely known in Jamaica for it’s medicinal properties and its very bitter taste. People here on the island use the plant to treat cuts, burns, constipation and a few other ailments and you know what, it works better than any modern medicine I’ve ever tried. We also use it in our hair as a conditioner and on our skin since it helps keep those pesky wrinkles at bay. I personally love how super shiny and smooth it makes both my skin and hair feel! Oh and besides all that, its a great addition to any succulent collection (here’s mine).

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But you must be wondering how aloe vera in a drink can help you… well its great for your digestive system, kinda like how yogurt is and its full of vitamins and nutrients. The best thing about working with aloe vera is that once you remove that bitterness, you’re left with a blank slate that you can customize based on the season and whatever is available.

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So first, let’s talk about de-bittering; you wanna cut a leaf from your aloe vera plant and let it drain for a full day and all the yellow slime will drain out. Then you wanna fillet it, to do this, run your knife along both sides of the leaf, being careful not to cut through the bottom leaf. Then pull back the top leaf; it will peel back easily and with the knife or a spoon cut/scoop the jell off the bottom leaf. Wash the jell and you can cut it into pieces or not but it must go into a ziplock bag and freeze for a day, that’s what really takes the bitterness away, don’t ask me how.

On smoothie making day, all you do is add to a blender, your fruits, I used papaya for it’s refreshing yet sweet flavour, a frozen banana ’cause you can’t have a smoothie without those,  a ton of mint because that just taste like spring to me, like waking up from winter and the frozen aloe vera jell of course, a pinch of turmeric powder, that’s optional some honey and some ice cold coconut water and wizz away. Pour into glasses and enjoy!

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Check out the recipe below for measurements and stay tuned for more spring time foods!

Springtime Smoothie with Aloe Vera

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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This refreshing smoothie taste like a field of daisies and bees buzzing around wild flowers and afternoon showers all in one.

INGREDIENTS

Aloe vera jell from two leaves, frozen

1/2 papaya, sliced

1 frozen banana, sliced

2 sprigs of mint, leaves only (reserve a sprig for garnish)

1 pinch of turmeric

1 tablespoon honey (or agave syrup)

1 1/2-2 cups coconut water, cold

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high until smooth.
  2. Pour into glasses with straws and garnish with a sprig of mint.

I hope you shine today!heart

 

Guinep Smoothie

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It’s guinep season here in Jamaica and we’ve been getting a lot of guineps from my grammy’s friend who has a tree in her back yard. She gives us bags full at a time, so we always have a bunch of guineps to share and a lot to eat on our own. I myself am not a huge fan of eating guineps (although it tastes pretty good), so when we kept getting these massive amounts of guineps I decided to transform them into something I could really get with, and so, Guinep Smoothie was born.

If you’re not Jamaican or from the Caribbean, you might have no clue what Guinep is. So here’s what it is: it’s this sweet fruit that comes packaged in a thin green skin. It’s got a little tang to it, which we Jamaicans describe as ‘stainy’. The seed makes up most of the fruit but is surrounded by fleshy meat and that’s the part you eat (and what I can’t get with it eating the flesh off the seed, I mean, I wish it was all flesh).

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My grammy actually told me about this recipe and I tweaked it to fit my likes which honestly wasn’t much tweaking. I removed the alcohol from the recipe as well as the sugar and added almond milk instead of cow’s milk to make it vegan, just cause I was in a vegan mood. I made some extra smoothies with the cow’s milk as well for later when I’m not feeling so ‘vegan’. I also threw in a couple bananas.

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So this recipe is super easy! First you wanna make the juice, to do that you’re gonna need a lot of guineps. I used maybe 3 pounds but that gave me a lot of juice so you really need maybe a pound or so. I had my little (not so little) sous chef, grammy in the kitchen with me and she graciously offered to skin the guineps for me.

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While she did that, I put some water in the kettle to boil. Once grammy was all done, I poured the hot water onto the peeled guineps and let it sit for a while. When it was warm, I reach in with clean hands and begun rubbing the flesh off the seeds. It took a little while to get the flesh off but when I was finished I had some yummy, sweet guinep juice.

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Before I added the hot water

You wanna choose guineps that are at their peak and very ripe. That’s how you get away with not adding sweeteners. Super ripe guineps have dark blotches on the skin and sometimes seem a bit shrunken compared to a freshly picked, just ripened guinep. Choose the super ripe ones for this drink and the latter kind for snacking on… So as I was saying, you wanna strain the juice after you rub the seeds. Strain it well. You can serve it just like this if you want with a few cubes of ice.

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But if you want the smoothie version, just blend milk (almond or cow’s), bananas, vanilla extract and nutmeg together and you’ve got your Guinep Smoothie! If you’re making this and you want to add different fruits, it’s best you watch out for curdling since not all the enzymes in the guinep can mix with every fruit. Fruits with a similar makeup to bananas or guineps (like sweet and soursop) could be used but just be cautious!

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I added a few ice cubes to the blender as well after I blended the ingredients to a smooth smoothie texture. You could add the ice whole but I much preferred the crushed ice in the smoothie. Go ahead and garnish with extra nutmeg.

I love this recipe, straight or ‘smoothiefied’ because of its all-natural, sweet and refreshing flavours. When it’s made into a smoothie, its got this milkshake flavour that taste like dessert and soursop juice all in one (which is definitely a great thing!)

So if you’re like me and you’re not a fan of eating the fruit but you like the taste, try this recipe out, get it below!

I know you’ll all be very impressed with how little ole guinep can taste!

Guinep Smoothie

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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This is a delicious, naturally sweet smoothie made from Jamaican guineps.

INGREDIENTS

The juice

2-4 cups hot water (just enough to cover the guineps)

As many guineps as you can get (about 1 pound, or more)

The smoothie

2 cups guinep juice

1/2 cup almond or cow’s milk

2 ripe bananas

2 teaspoons nutmeg, grated, plus more for garnish

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

ice cubes, as needed

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Boil the water.
  2. In the mean time, remove the skins from the guineps and place them into a large bowl.
  3. Pour the water over the guineps and allow it to cool to touch. Start rubbing the flesh off the seeds while the water is still warm; rub off as much as you can.
  4. Strain the juice well and reserve 2 cups for the smoothie.
  5. In a blender, add the guinep juice, milk, bananas, nutmeg and vanilla and blend on high until smooth.
  6. Add the ice cubes and blend to crush.
  7. Grate more nutmeg over the top, serve cold and enjoy!

I hope you shine today!heart