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    Ask the Chef: Garden-Grown Smoothies

    By Julie Morris, Superfood Chef | May 20, 2013

    I want to grow some food this year in my backyard and was wondering what are some good things to plant that I can use in my superfood smoothies? I don't have a ton of space/land, but wanted to grow a few things?

    - Jenna K.

    There is NOTHING better than homegrown produce when it comes to flavor and vibrancy! Even if you have limited garden space, there are still many things that you can plant that can be used to enhance your favorite blender drinks.

    Strawberries - a true superfood in their own right, strawberries can be planted in raised beds or in pots. Fresh strawberries make amazing additions to virtually any kind of smoothie - from fruit-based to creamy varieties. Try pairing fresh strawberries with maqui berry powder for a broad range of antioxidants and a pretty fuschia color.

    Leafy Greens - Even in just a small amount of space, you can easily grow hearty greens like swiss chard, kale, and even lettuce, to make the finest green smoothies in the neighborhood. Even better, greens are the kind of crop that will continue to “give†for a long warm-weather season - just pluck off a few outer leaves for your smoothie, and allow the plant to continue to grow. Note that as the weather gets hotter, it's good to cut down the first sign of the plant trying to flower. Known as “bolting,†this growth-spurt makes the leaves (and hence your smoothie) irreversibly bitter.

    Stevia - One of my favorite natural sweeteners, stevia grows as a garden herb, just like mint! You can pick off a couple of leaves and blend them into your smoothie to sweeten in the most natural of ways. Fresh stevia goes best with fruit smoothies, and is a natural flavor match for goji berries.

    Fruit trees - Granted, these take a while to come into fruition if newly planted. But if you have a tree or two in your backyard (or can negotiate with a neighbor), smoothies are the PERFECT way to use up some of the inevitable excess fruit that trees produce. Use what you can fresh during peak season, then freeze the rest in airtight containers (be sure to prep the produce before freezing, removing any inedible peel/pits/seeds, and chopping as well). You'll be able to enjoy your fresh produce for months to come, in the very healthiest of ways!

    Have a superfood smoothie question of your own? Ask away! Just post it below and we may feature it in an upcoming segment of Ask The Chef.