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Nothing is worse than a smoothie separating after you make it!
Whether you want a smoothie that’s thin or thick, you definitely don’t want it to separate.
I’ve been making smoothies for years and there are 4 reasons why smoothies separate.
Smoothies won’t taste good if the ingredients start to separate into different parts of the drink instead of staying blended together.
I’ll show you what they are and how to keep your smoothie from separating.
What Causes a Smoothie to Separate?
There are four reasons why your smoothie might separate:
- Curdling ingredients
- Separation over time
Below, we explain how each of these factors can cause your smoothie to separate, and what you can do to prevent separation.
Dairy products, such as cow’s milk and yogurt, can curdle when mixed with acidic ingredients like lemons, oranges or kiwis.
Normally, the protein molecules in dairy products are separated from one another, which gives milk its lovely smooth texture. But when something causes the milk to curdle, these molecules clump together, separating away from the moisture in the milk and producing solid lumps.
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to save a smoothie once it has curdled, so you need to prevent it from curdling in the first place.
Check out our list of dairy free smoothies if you need a headstart!
The best way to avoid curdling in your smoothie is to only use low acidic fruits, such as bananas, when you plan to combine fruit and dairy ingredients.
Alternatively, you can switch to water or a dairy-free milk alternative, such as a plant-based milk, which will not curdle.
Another possible cause for a separated smoothie is oxidation. Oxidation occurs when the ingredients in your smoothie are exposed to air.
This is the same process as you witness when cutting an apple into pieces and leaving it exposed to the air – it won’t be long before the apple starts to go brown and its consistency changes.
As well as causing your smoothie to change color and separate, oxidation can also lead to a loss of nutritional value and flavor. It’s therefore important to avoid oxidation at all costs. Blending your fruit doesn’t change the nutritional value, but oxidation can.
The easiest way to avoid oxidation causing your smoothie to separate is simply to drink your smoothie as soon as you make it.
However, if you’re not going to drink your smoothie right away, the best thing to do to avoid oxidation is to decant the smoothie into an air tight container and only open it when you want to take a sip.
Separation Over Time
Smoothies are a blend of liquid and fibrous particles that are usually best drunk immediately after blending. Some high fiber smoothies can cause more separation issues and the fiber can make smoothies foamy.
This is because, if you leave a smoothie standing for a while, heavier particles will gradually sink while lighter ones will float to the surface.
The obvious way to avoid your smoothie separating over time is to drink it as soon as you make it.
However, if you don’t drink your smoothie straight away and you find that it has separated (but with no signs of curdling), you may be able to rescue your drink by giving it a good shake or a short blast on the blender to re-mix the ingredients.
Smoothies are usually packed with fresh ingredients, and exposure to high temperatures generally causes fresh ingredients to spoil more quickly than if they are stored at cooler temperatures.
Common smoothie problems like natural separation over time, oxidation, and curdling are all accelerated by heat, so keeping your smoothie cool is an important part of avoiding separation.
To prevent your smoothie separating due to high temperatures, you should never leaving your smoothie out on the kitchen counter on a hot day, in the car, or in direct sunlight.
Instead, if you want to save a smoothie for later, store it in the refrigerator or in a cool bag when on the go.
Our Favorite Tricks to Keep a Smoothie from Separating
I’ve been making smoothies for years. These are the best ways to keep a smoothie from separating.
- Use less acidic fruits – This can keep your milk from curdling.
- Use dairy free milk – Dairy based milks are more likely to curdle so something like almond milk is a great substitute. If you make a smoothie with water instead of milk, this can also cause it to be foamy. You can also use other liquids for smoothies that are less likely to separate.
- Drink your smoothie right away – Some smoothies will separate over time in the fridge so the best thing is to just drink it right away. Smoothies last in the fridge for 2-3 days.
- Store in an airtight container – Storing your smoothie in an airtight container can help prevent oxidation. The key is to leave minimal space in your storage jar.
- Shake your smoothie before drinking it – If your smoothie has separated, then you can fix it by giving it a good shake before you drink it!
- Store in the fridge – Smoothies will separate as they rise in temperature. Store them in the fridge to keep your smoothies from separating.
Has Your Smoothie Really Separated?
Sometimes, it is easy to think that your smoothie has separated when it is actually just lumpy or gritty. Nobody wants to drink a smoothie that has a gritty or chunky mouth feel, but separation isn’t always the problem.
Often, grittiness in a smoothie can be blamed on the tiny seeds in berries such as strawberries or blueberries. These can be avoided with the help a great blender.
A powerful blender is the key to making smoother smoothies.
In most instances, lumpy smoothies also simply haven’t been blended well enough. The solution is to blend your smoothies for longer—and ensure that your blender is powerful enough for the task.
A high-quality, powerful blender will make quick work of any gritty or lumpy bits in your smoothie, and will deliver creamier smoothies, more delicious results.