In this era of health-conscious eating, restaurants selling fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies are becoming more and more popular. People are getting so fond of smoothies, in fact, that they want to make them at home. A smoothie is a drink, usually made with fresh fruit, fruit juice, ice, yogurt and other ingredients to make a thick, healthy beverage. Because the ice in the smoothie has to be crushed and blended with the other ingredients, a smoothie maker is usually the appliance of choice.
At its core, a smoothie maker is a jazzed-up version of the venerable kitchen blender. It does have some differences, however, and usually has higher wattage than a blender, giving it the power to really pulverize the ice and fruit. The glass mixing chamber also has a narrower shape, which directs the ice and fruit down toward the blades for more efficient mixing. The machine may also have a spout toward the bottom of the glass mixing chamber to dispense the smoothie mixture. Unlike a regular blender, this feature enables a person to serve the smoothie without having to lift the glass chamber out and pour from the top. It may also come with a "stir stick," a long plastic cylinder that fits into the mixing chamber and helps blend the ingredients.
The average smoothie maker will also have measurements on the side of the mixing chamber to allow accurate measurements of ice, liquid, and fruit. Recipes for smoothies are widely available on the Internet and in many cookbooks. They can incorporate almost any fruit a person has in the refrigerator, and some recipes also call for protein powder or other nutrition boosters.
The device comes in a variety of sizes, and from many manufacturers. Prices can vary considerably, depending on the maker and features. Some have computerized timers and cycles that blend the ingredients, allow it to sit for a time, then blend again.