Straightforward chilly, smooth slushies

  • Sun Sep 2nd, 2012 10:37pm
  • Life

By J.M. Hirsch Associated Press

Slushies have taken on a surprisingly critical role in my family.

My 7-year-old slurped a slushie a day at camp, no doubt heavily laden with sugar and neon chemicals.

While my son was off enjoying his slushie and I sat sweating in my home office, I decided I could whip up my own chilly drinks, creating more interesting flavors and using far better ingredients.

Sugar was certainly going to have to be part of the equation, but no neon chemicals were needed.

The results were delicious and refreshing. And while I love the three flavor blends I came up with, it’s easy to create your own. Just keep a few guidelines in mind.

You will need a blender. With most models, you’ll need to stop it once or twice while blending to mix up the ice so that it doesn’t jam. The weaker your blender, the more times you’ll need to stop and mix.

Aim for a ratio of 3 cups of ice to 2 to 3 cups of liquid/other ingredients. This ensures you will get an icy, but smooth consistency. It also helps keep the mixture from jamming in the blender.

Don’t be afraid to really let the blender go for a couple of minutes. You want the mixture to be very smooth. There should be no discernible hunks of ice.

Sugar is important for consistency. While you could use stevia or another alternative sweetener to cut calories, the result will be watery. I liked using agave or honey, which have a pleasantly mild sweetness that won’t compete with the other flavors. Simple syrup (2-to-1 mixture of granulated sugar and water) also works.

Don’t forget the pinch of salt. It heightens the other flavors.

Skip the seeds. Slushies are all about being chilly and smooth. That’s why I used seedless strawberry jam rather than fresh or frozen berries in the recipe below. You also could use juice concentrates, such as cherry or pomegranate.

Coconut-lemonade slushies

3 cups lightly crushed ice

1 cup water

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup sweetened cream of coconut

1/4 cup agave syrup or honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth. You may need to stop the blender once or twice and stir the ingredients in order to keep them moving in the blender. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings. Per serving: 410 calories; 110 calories from fat (27 percent of total calories); 12 g fat (11 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 80 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 0 g fiber; 105 mg sodium.

Strawberry-ginger-limeade slushies

3 cups lightly crushed ice

1 cup water

1 cup seedless strawberry jam

1/4 cup lime juice

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Pinch salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth. You may need to stop the blender once or twice and stir the ingredients in order to keep them moving in the blender. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings. Per serving: 410 calories; 0 calories from fat (0 percent of total calories); 0 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 107 g carbohydrate; 0 g protein; 0 g fiber; 80 mg sodium.

Orange-banana-cinnamon slushie

3 cups lightly crushed ice

1 cup no-pulp orange juice

2 bananas

1/2 cup agave syrup or honey

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth. You may need to stop the blender once or twice and stir the ingredients in order to keep them moving in the blender. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings. Per serving: 420 calories; 5 calories from fat (1 percent of total calories); 0.5 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 109 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 4 g fiber; 85 mg sodium.