News flash, everybody: Summer is hot. I always seem to forget how hot it gets here in California, until it happens. The temperature starts to creep into the high 90s and I start to panic. It's that "how many layers of clothes can I remove in this social situation and still remain decent" sort of panic.
I've come up with a solution to cool things down: how about we make some slushies? They're easy to whip up in a blender, made with real fruit, and best of all, ice cold.
When I was a teenager, I used to drive my crop-top-sporting, bedazzled-shorts-wearing self to 7-11 and dish myself out a Cherry-and-Cola Big Gulp. The red and the brown ice would mix together into a dark brown sugar rush.
But as I get older, I find that I can tolerate sugar less and less. I have a feeling that if I tried to suck down a Big Gulp now my heart might explode. But this doesn't stop the urge for one of my favorite summer treats! I had to create a slushie that didn't make me feel like I was about to have a heart attack.
It all started with this Watermelon & Mint Slushie. Since then I've been experimenting with all kinds of fruits and flavor combos in order to bring you a formula that you can easily tweak for your own fruity-creations. It turns out that it doesn't take much to make a healthier, satisfying version of this old summer favorite. It's a simple ratio of fruit, ice and sparking water!
My favorite part in this process is thinking of fun and creative add-ins once you've got your fruits picked out for your base. You can just add a few herbs for a flavor pop, some honey to sweeten the deal, or a bit of citrus to give it a kick! I'm sure you can think of countless other combos, but I give a few of my favorite add-ins at the end of the recipe below.
Alright, let's get our slushie on!
How To Make Fruit Slushies
Makes 1 slushie
What You Need
1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped fresh fruit
1 cup ice (plus extra, depending on the type of fruit used)
1/4 cup sparkling water
Extra herbs, spices, or other ingredients for flavoring (see Recipe Note)
High-powered blender (or blender strong enough to crush ice)
Wash and chop the fruit: Wash the fruit and chop it into manageable pieces. Discard any pits. You can leave peels on or remove them, as you prefer. Measure the fruit to make sure you have 1 1/2 to 2 cups total.
Combine the ingredients in a blender: Combine the chopped fruit with 1 cup of ice and the sparkling water in a high-powered blender. If you're using any flavoring extras, like mint or lemon juice, add them now.
Blend on high until the mixture is the consistency of a slushie: Blend on high speed until the ice is completely crushed and the fruit is blended. Check the texture and add more ice or more fruit as needed to reach your desired slushie consistency. If the type of fruit you're using has more water in it (such as watermelon), it might effect the amount of ice needed. The ratio of 1 1/2 cups fruit to 1 cup ice is a really great jumping off point.
Pour into a glass and drink it up! Slushies are best if sipped right away! They will lose their slushie-like consistency the longer you wait.
Ideas for Slushie Add-Ins!
You don't need much to make the flavor pop. If you're using herbs, a leaf or two will do. If you like things sweet, consider a tablespoon of honey!
Mint: Pairs wonderfully with watermelon and other tropical fruits.
Basil: Gives a lovely punch to berries!
Honey: Adds some extra sweetness, especially with tart fruits.
Lime: Fantastic with mango and pretty much everything!
Lemon: Gives a bit of a frozen lemonade feel to any slushie.
Vanilla: I added this to my mango slushie and it was heavenly!
Ginger: If you love ginger as much as I do, it goes with everything.
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(Image credits: Gina Eykemans)