In 1926, a Los Angeles man names Julius Freed put some orange juice into a blender, added a few other ingredients, and flipped on the switch. What he poured into a glass a few seconds later was a cold and frothy drink that would eventually turn a sleepy health food store drink into a billion dollar smoothie business.
Freed’s customers lined up to buy the concoction. “Give me an orange, Julius,” they said when it was their turn to order, and the name stuck.
By the end of the 20th century, lots of Americans counted on smoothies to help them meet the recommended five-a-day servings of fruits and vegetables. People, too much in a hurry to wait for a cup of coffee to finish brewing, made themselves breakfast smoothies to drink on the way to work. Smoothie cookbooks were filled with recipes that promised health and energy. It wasn’t long before the icy drinks became a way for adding nutritional supplements to food. In the 1970s, to increase muscle mass, body builders spooned protein powders into their smoothies.
Today, yogurt smoothies for children are made with probiotics, yogurt-like bacteria that can strengthen immunity and promote health. For our version of Julius Freed’s creation, we whirled together skim milk, vanilla yogurt and calcium-fortified orange juice concentrate. We call it an Orange Creamsicle Smoothie, after the orange sherbet and vanilla pops we loved growing up. It’s a delectable treat that makes a terrific snack and comes with a nice little nutritional bonus.
By Jean Kressy, a food writer in Ashburnham, Mass.