Smoothies Level Up: Maca - Part 3
I think that if you can make maca-based stuff you’re a smoothie ninja.
Honestly. Maca has such a strong, distinctive flavor that it’s hard to work with it. It’s like blueberries or acai berries: without proper care, something with blueberries in it tastes either like blueberries or like blueberries with a hint of something else—acai too.
You know what I'm saying: blueberries have a way of overpowering other flavors. Which is why we see so many foods with blueberries and lemon, because those have a way of tasting good together. Or blueberries and vanilla—if you add enough vanilla. The flavors are distinctive enough that you can distinguish both, and complementary enough that bringing them together creates a fused flavor that's very much like a posh party in your mouth.
Good recipes should be like this. They’re not just about nourishment. If they were, we’d all eat beef and lima bean oatmeal for every meal and have Spinach smoothie bowls. A good recipe is about blending flavors. And it's about the joy you feel from devouring them.
As you may or may not be aware, we’ve started a not-so-secret Superfood Society based on a mutual interest in a lifelong wellness quest. Wellness has many elements, but one big one is food. To that end, we are awarding discounts and cool stuff to members of this Superfood Society.
Join our Not-so-secret #SuperfoodSociety
Tag us @nutrientelements and hashtag #SuperfoodSociety in Facebook and Instagram and the community will help select wellness adventurers every week who’ve produced particularly amazing smoothies and recipes.
Now, the thing is, there isn’t a special prize for recipes that make particularly fine use of maca root.
But I think there should be...
If you think about the superfoods we have on offer that go well into smoothies and similar, maca presents one of the most interesting challenges. I mean, it ain’t hard to get people to eat chocolate; cacao has a preceding reputation longer than my hair. And goji berries, which we’ve also got, and acai berries, which we’ll get soon, might both be strong-flavored fruits, but they’re still fruits. There are plenty of recipes that fruit goes into well.
Maca’s different. Maca’s a root vegetable—maca is a little bitter, a little spicy, a little loamy, and it’s a lot…odd. I actually like the stuff, but it is odd. It isn’t obvious to me, at first sniff and second taste, what kind of flavors it’ll go with. I can think of ways to cover up its flavor, and I can think of things to put it in where the point is to taste the maca. Neither of those are good recipe ideas, though, because neither of them use maca as part of the balancing element of the food. The recipe won’t be a good recipe unless maca is a key ingredient and an important part of the flavor—but only part of the flavor. Like the quinine in a gin and tonic: it needs to be there, and it can’t be the only thing I taste.
I’m imagining a thing. I have always had this theory that things with similar—ish—growth structures go well together. Not a universal rule, but it’s a place to start. So I’m imagining a kind of sorbet. Its ingredients are, roughly, maca, jicama, radish—good radishes, not bad ones—lots of ice, some ginger, and agave syrup.
Hmm…it could work.
Place to start, at least.
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