I was lucky at the Saturday market at Sneinton and got 3 honeydew melons for £1! Also 2 punnets of plums for £1.20 and a generous chunk of fresh ginger for 60p, so this week’s easy peasy but fresh and healthy hit has been smoothies with fruit tea to dilute them : Todd Niehaus, the chiropractor I see is very knowledgeable about nutrition and always advises watering down fruit juice for the sake of your blood sugar and kidneys. You couldn’t EAT 18 oranges in a row, so why think you can drink a  litre of juice without  giving yourself gripe? I used to dilute with fizzy water, but don’t feel comfortable supporting the bottled water industry any more. Cooled fruit tea is a good alternative, and can add flavour and health enhancers to the drink, but if you are pregnant, please check before using any tea that is good for menstrual cramps, it may bring on a miscarriage. Most flavours are ok in moderation for everyone else, but check online if you have allergies or IBS, and this much fruit might upset diabetics too. I like to make a big batch and freeze little juice bottles as single portions for a super-tired day ( I slept from Saturday night to Wednesday afternoon this week – fibro what?)

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How my friends have laughed at the mountain of 10p mandarin oranges in juice I snapped up from Approved Foods –  but they’re very handy now ;)and all those organic and herbal teas you can see worked out at less than 50p each from there too!

1 Make a pot of tea, sweet (eg  elderflower, fennel, camomile) if the fruit is sharp, strong and tangy if the fruit is bland (mint, ginger, cranberry, rosehip, hibiscus, aronia/chokecherry) or an infusion of your own garden herbs – elderflower, limeflower, mint, borage, camomile, fennel, feverfew, etc and let it steep and cool

2 Softest fruit first is easiest on the stick blender, so I scooped out the super juicy flesh of a large melon, poured 3 little cans of mandarin oranges in JUICE on top (you could use 2 or 3 roughly chopped Spanish or South African oranges, according to taste) and added finely chopped fresh ginger, 2 tablespoons to a 2 litre/4 pint  jug is plenty for most people, particularly if you are going to freeze it. Whizz well, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing’s lurking, plums really hide well 😉

STA451163 Blender safety: check the jug is sturdy enough to take the weight of the stick blender if you have to stop suddenly, and if the end is detachable, do NOT fill the jug to that line, stop a couple of inches/5cm below or your smoothie will be very dear when all the fuses go…

4 Pour out  half a glass and add the cooled tea/ice cubes/mineral water/old fashioned sugar free lemonade for a refreshing and healthy drink. I use an old water filter jug so that it sits easily in the fridge door, but for entertaining in-laws etc, pour into a glass jug for the table, ready mixed, or on a tray of mixers.

5 Lollies: save little yoghurt tubs and old lolly sticks or buy new lolly sticks at Lakeland etc, half fill the tubs with mixed smoothies and stand a stick up in it – if you’re a perfectionist, use a pipecleaner/chenille craft wire to keep it straight 😉

6 Freeze tubs of fruit mix for another day and have mocktail parties to invent the best recipes, freeze it mixed with readymade custard and cream to make summer desserts… nom,nom..

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Tangy mixtures:

peach/nectarine/mandarin/strawberry with rosehip/hibiscus or cranberry and echinacea tea

pear, ginger and orange

plum and orange

orange, grated carrot, apple and ginger

Sweet mixtures:

pineapple and lemon

plum and apple with elderberry and blackberry

pear, apple and elderberry

blackberry, apple and fennel/liquorice (boil a 2 inches/5cm  of liquorice root or 4″/10cm chopped fennel stalks for 20/10mins and add infusion to fruit to blend)

Mocktails are really good to have at lunchtime bbqs  and picnics, and if you’re travelling or at the allotment, you can freeze the smoothie mix in little bottles (leave room so the bottle doesn’t burst when it’s frozen!!) and it’s still cool but thawed by the time you eat, super refreshing!

If you’re watching the pennies, even with bought ingredients a big jug can cost as little as £1, serve 7 pints and be a talking point if you take it to a bring and share. If you use your own allotment or foraged soft fruit, fresh or frozen, it could be even less 🙂

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