HOW TO SAVE SMOOTHIES FOR LATER
Do you ever find yourself with leftover smoothie you don’t know what to do with, so you just throw it out? Or do you wish you could make a giant batch of smoothies and save them for later – but don’t know how?
If you’ve ever doubled a smoothie recipe to save some for later you may have found that it doesn’t always work out the way you planned. Unless you drink it by the next day, you’ll find that the ingredients separate and start to go bad quickly.
Don’t worry – there are ways to add smoothies into your meal prepping routine. Whether you just want to make an extra smoothie for tomorrow or for an entire week (or month), there are ways to save smoothies for later. And it will still taste great!
Smoothies are a fast and convenient meal replacement, but sometimes they just aren’t fast enough. Creating smoothie freezer kits can help speed up the amount of time you spend creating a smoothie. The prep work is done for you – just dump the contents of the bag into the blender and blend.
If you find yourself not having the time to blend up your smoothie all the time, you can always make extra and save the rest of your smoothie for later.
How to save smoothies for later
You have a couple of options for saving your smoothies for later, depending on how long you want to save it for. If you’re only planning on saving your smoothie for a day you can refrigerate it. For longer than that, you can freeze it.
Let’s go through the different methods, and I’ll give you some tips for each.
If you want to save your smoothie for up to 24 hours you can just refrigerate it. I do not recommend storing a refrigerated smoothie for longer than 24 hours because the blended fruits and vegetables can start to go bad after that. Use your best judgment before drinking a saved smoothie: if it smells bad or looks dark brown just don’t drink it.
Tips for saving your smoothie for later in the refrigerator:
- Always make a double batch of your smoothie recipe – that way you have some for now and have a nutritious snack or meal for later. A leftover smoothie is always better than a muffin, bagel, or fast food later.
- Store your smoothie in a glass container with an airtight lid. Fill the container all the way to the top to prevent air from being trapped in the container. Air will oxidize the nutrients in your smoothie, making it less nutritious. This is not an issue when you drink your smoothie right away, but it can affect your stored smoothie.
- Seal the container tightly and store in the refrigerator. Ball mason jars make nice smoothie storage containers. Use the lids that come with the mason jars, or you can buy BPA free plastic lids in a local store or on Amazon.com.
- Try adding some lemon or lime juice to your smoothie. The extra vitamin C can help prevent the oxidation process on the nutrients. You can add lemon or lime juice to the blender while making your smoothie, and you can put it on top of your stored smoothie just before you seal it.
When you store your smoothie in the refrigerator, some separation or settling of the ingredients can occur. A quick shake or stir should mix everything up again – no need for blending it again.
To prevent the separation of ingredients when you store your smoothie for later in the refrigerator, you can try adding a gum thickener.
Xanthan and guar gums are amazing low-calorie smoothie thickeners. Both are also emulsifiers and will help prevent your smoothie ingredients from settling or separating. Use gum in place of your regular thickener – or add it to make a super thick smoothie. A little goes a long way, though. Start by adding just 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of gum to your smoothie.
Another option for saving your smoothie for later is freezing it. The benefit of freezing is that you can store the already made smoothies for up to 3 months (at that point the flavor begins to change a little). And you can store a lot of them. You can make a week’s (or month’s!) worth of smoothies ahead of time and keep them in the freezer until you are ready to drink them.
The downside to freezing your smoothie is it takes a little planning ahead before you can drink it. You’ll need to remember to take it out of the freezer and put it in the fridge the night before. Or you can leave it out for at least an hour before you plan on drinking it.
Tips for freezing smoothies:
- Use freezer safe jars or containers. Freezer safe mason jars are a great choice because of the thick glass and wide mouth.
- Leave a little room at the top of the container for the smoothie to expand when freezing without breaking the glass. For single serve saved smoothies, leave at least an inch at the top. Some containers have a fill line marked specifically for freezing.
- To help prevent freezer burn, store your smoothie in an air tight container. Be sure to put the lid on tight. You can use the lids that come with the container or for mason jars you can buy BPA free plastic lids. If you have a Food Saver system, they make mason jar lids that work with their external vacuum pump to remove the extra air. You will probably want to freeze the smoothie before pumping out the air, or you may end up sucking the smoothie out of the jar.
- You can also freeze your smoothie in push-up pop or popsicle molds. The come in reusable and one-time use molds.
- Another way to freeze your smoothie is to pour the extra smoothie into an ice cube tray. Smoothie cubes will thaw faster than a mason jar smoothie, and the cubes are easier to blend (if you chose to blend it again). Another benefit to freezing in cube trays is you can always use them in a fresh smoothie as the thickener. If you are planning on storing the cubes for longer than a few days, I recommend placing them in an air tight container or bag to help prevent freezer burn.
When thawing your smoothie, if your ingredients have settled or separated before you have a chance to drink it, give it a quick shake or stir. Similar to refrigerating smoothies, you do not need to blend a frozen smoothie before drinking it.
If you like your smoothie to be frosty, let if defrost for around 30 minutes in the fridge before re-blending. This softens the smoothie enough to let it be broken down by a blender, or you can eat it with a spoon.
Make smoothies part of your weekly meal plan routine
Now that you know how to save smoothies for later, you can start incorporating them into your weekly meal prepping routine. Not only will you save time making them you can save money by not wasting produce. Fresh produce can go bad quickly – frozen pre-made smoothies will last for months.