I finally got everything together to make yogurt. Since the new kitchen is bigger than a postage stamp we now have a blender for the first time in 15 years, which means we can make smoothies. I haven't had very many smoothies, as there's been a lack of: a) smoothie bars in the area, b) money, and c) blenders, so I'm only vaguely acquainted with the process. Blending the fruit to a pulp before serving fruit yogurt seems to help most of the family eat it faster, although the two youngest children are resisting. So far I've experimented with fresh blueberries from the neighbor's garden, leftover sauteed apples, bananas, cantaloupe, and fresh peaches. So far so good, although there's still some pulp left over; it doesn't blend smooth. Oh, and grapes. I found if I add a handful of white grapes I don't need any sugar even with the tart yogurt.
I'm not sure how exactly I'm supposed to get it really cold. The recipes say, "Throw ice, fruit, and liquid into the blender and blend it smooth." That doesn't work. If I blend it at the top speed to pulverize the fruit pulp, the ice is crushed to nothing. If I don't blend it at top speed, I end up with a lot of pulp. Obviously I have to add the ice later.
Apparently some people prefer frozen fruit, both because it's colder and because the ice crystals break down the pulp in the freezer. That's fine as far as it goes, but it doesn't do anything about melons (which shouldn't be frozen) or grape skins.
Hmm. I'm told smoothies call for three main ingredients: liquid (to protect the blades), ice, and smooth-blending fruit. Obviously some people are doubling up with the frozen fruit. If I use yogurt for the liquid I don't need liquid fruit juice. What if I freeze the fruit juice and use that for the ice? I know lemonade freezes at a lower temperature than water; I bet it's true of fruit juices as well. I'll try that.
I'll also try adding some chocolate milk powder to the smoothies of the two youngest children. That might improve their opinion, as they belong to the "everything is better with chocolate" camp.