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Fruit Shakes & Slushies

It is a welcome treat on a hot summer day.  It also brings back the giddy teen years when we think of that classic pose of a man and a woman facing each other, as they share a tall glass with two straws to keep that romantic date interesting.  Shakes (or milkshakes and smoothies) and slushies are something that we have all grown to love since childhood, despite having our specific flavor and texture preferences.

Pureed fruit drinks have been enjoyed for centuries in the Mediterranean and Eastern cultures, as well as in South and Latin America – being home to a bountiful list of tropical fruits.  But the smoothie as we know it, made it big in the United States in the 1930s, due to the invention of the blender!  In the case of milkshakes, these were hand-shaken concoctions made of crushed ice, milk, sugar, and flavorings.  Eventually, milkshakes became a staple at soda fountains in the early 1900s.  Then in the advent of the blender, the milkshakes found its new incarnation in its creamy, whipped form!

Meanwhile, slushies have become an iconic convenience store favorite, frozen beverage made from juice, non-carbonated and carbonated drinks that give you brain freeze upon drinking!

Fruit Shake & Slushie Trivia

  • The first slushie was accidentally invented in the late 1950s by Omar Knedlik.  After his soda fountain broke, he had to store his sodas in the freezer making them slushy, and the people loved them.  He then made a machine to produce this frozen concoction.  He sold the idea and gave rise to the now beloved Slurpee.
  • When milkshakes were first introduced in 1885, they were meant for adults only since it was a concoction of an alcoholic whiskey drink, resembling eggnog.
  • The modern milkshake was an invention of a Walgreens employee. In 1922, Ivar “Pop” Coulson invented the milkshake by mixing milk, chocolate syrup and malt powder in a metal container and poured the mixture into a glass. Then he eventually innovated that concoction by adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  • In the 1970s, Steve Kuhnau reformulated the usual creamy milkshake. Reportedly dealing with lactose intolerance and cannot digest the traditional milkshakes, he experimented with blending his own concoction using real fruit, nutrients, and protein powder. This spawned a healthier alternative, and gave rise to the first and one of the most popular smoothie brands!
  • In 2012, a survey was done on North American consumers and they discovered that the top favorite flavor was strawberry, followed by acai berry and tropical fruit. The least favorite flavors were guava, papaya, passion fruit, lemon, and marionberry.

Fruit Shake & Slushie Buying Guide

While smoothies, milkshakes and fruit shakes have been used interchangeably and came from the same concept, they now denote different types of beverages.

  • Milkshakes or Shakes: These are cold drinks that are made by blending milk, ice cream, sweet or fruity flavorings or sweeteners, and ice cream that are whisked together until the mixture reaches a frothy consistency. We often see it topped with whipped cream, cherries, or other fruits, sprinkles, and more. Common flavors include chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla.
  • Smoothies: Compared to shakes which are milk or cream-based, smoothies are usually made from pureed raw fruits and/or vegetables, or sometimes frozen fruits that are tossed into the blender and mixed until it becomes smooth. Using frozen fruits gives it the thick icy texture. Other ingredients can also be added, like crushed ice, sweeteners, whey powders, nuts, seeds, chocolate, supplements, and more. Smoothies have evolved from being just a regular fruit beverage to being a power drink, meal replacement or supplement for the health-conscious.

Milkshakes and slushies were popularly sold in mom ‘n pop diners, restaurants and dessert shops, and now smoothies have also found its own market, being sold in health food specialty shops or healthy juice bars and food joints.  And of course, who would forget the ultra-popular slushie from a renowned convenience store!

Fruit Shake & Slushie Production & Farming in Texas

Shakes and smoothies are very easy to find in Texas, just check any local diner or specialty smoothie and shakes bars!  Popular smoothie restaurant chains have also made their way to Texas and popped up in several locations.  Local Texan food joints have also joined the shake, smoothie, and slushie fray, producing their own interesting, and aesthetically pleasing concoctions.

Preservatives, Additives and Chemicals

Caution and call for moderation  is often given when we talk about the consumption of shakes and slushies.  Even healthy smoothies, because while they are made of fruits and other natural ingredients, other add-ons may make it a sugar and calorie trap.  Not a good thing, for those who consider this a weight loss meal supplement or replacement. The fruits themselves already contain natural, free sugars, so having additional sweeteners will ramp up your sugar intake.  Homemade or buying freshly made smoothies and shakes may be easier to monitor, but commercially sold smoothies may include not so wholesome ingredients.  Slushies are often made of sodas and carbonated drinks, and we all know that the ingredients of these drinks are not really the most recommended beverage, health-wise.

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup – The HFCS is an artificial sugar that is made from corn syrup. Commercial producers of products usually use this, as the HFCS is a cheaper substitute to natural sweeteners. But overconsumption of items with this ingredient can be linked to several serious health issues such as diabetes, obesity, fatty liver, and heart disease.
  • Guar Gum – This is a polysaccharide that is used as a food additive in processed foods and can be derived from legumes called guar beans. It is used to thicken and bind food products, as it is soluble and can absorb water. The FDA recognizes this as safe for consumption in specific amounts. It has said to have some benefits like improving digestive health and decrease blood sugar and blood cholesterol, however, it may also trigger an allergic reaction, or cause gas and bloating.
  • Carrageenan – This food additive can be derived from red seaweeds as well as in other vegan products. With it being derived from a plant, this is one of the manufacturer’s substitutes to replace gelatin which can be obtained from animals. However, there were some reports of side-effects of carrageenan such as inflammation, bloating, glucose intolerance, colon cancer, food allergies, and some more. And in 2016, the National Organic Standards Board ruled that food with carrageenan in its ingredients should not be labeled as “USDA organic.”
  • Milk Ingredients or Modified Milk Ingredients: These usually are processed or manufactured milk products that serve as stabilizers, emulsifiers, texturizers, whiteners or to extend the end product’s shelf life. Examples of milk ingredients are caseins, milk powders, milk fat or dry whey, skim milk, butter-oil, cultured milk products, and more. Reports say these do not pose any health risks but of course, it is still better to always consume things in moderation.
  • Citric acid – This is commonly found in citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges, and the likes. However, there is also a manufactured form that is used as a food additive and can also be found in cleaning agents and nutritional supplements. This manufactured citric acid is used to preserve the ingredients, to boost acidity in its contents, and to enhance the flavor. This is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA.
  • Artificial Flavors – these are flavorings added in our food that is not extracted from organic sources such as plants or animals. These are usually present in processed foods and snacks. But while others do not recommend taking in food with anything artificial, there are no reported significant health risks associated with taking in these artificial flavors.
  • Artificial Food Color – These make the food colors pop and look so much brighter and appetizing.  However, there are some food colors and food dyes that have been banned from some countries as research findings have highlighted them to cause allergic reactions, tumors, and cancers.  These banned food dyes are Blue 2, Green 3, Yellow 3, Yellow 6, and Red 3.


Shakes and slushies are traditionally served in the classic shake cups, printed and coated cartons with plastic lid and straw.  The cups have also evolved to transparent cups and lids to showcase the colorful concoctions.  For dine-in orders, the drinks are served in see-through glasses or mason jars, and of course, the classic milkshake glasses, complete with colorful striped straws.

Enjoying Fruit Shakes & Slushies

Shakes and slushies are often consumed as a dessert or perk me up drink… with that much sweetness, it will indeed make someone happy!  It can be grabbed to go from juice bars, or have it in diners or restaurants while hanging out with other people.  Smoothies, however, have been used as meal replacements or supplements as well as a power drink and energy booster for those who will be going for workouts or physical activities.


Though shakes and slushies are best enjoyed fresh, you can store it in the freezer, using mason jars or airtight containers.  It is best however, to consume it in a day or 2 days to get the best quality of the mix, before it separates or develops ice crystals. It is also recommended to cold thaw the stored shakes, or removing it from the freezer and transferring it to the fridge for about 30 minutes to prevent growth of any bacteria.  For slushies, after Others also do smoothie packs that can last for a long time, like putting in jars or ziplock bags the ingredients and freezing it.  Then popping the frozen ingredients in the blender for consumption.

Homemade smoothie and slushie

The Food Network shares a recipe of an easy and wholesome cherry slushie!


  • 2 cups frozen pitted sweet cherries
  • ¾ to 1 cup sparkling or regular water
  • ½ cup frozen pineapple
  • 3 to 5 ice cubes


  1. Toss all the main ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.
  2. Pour the slushie into glasses.

BBC Goodfood has a list of smoothie recipes, one of which is this great energy booster, the banana smoothie!


  • 500 ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 6 prunes
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 small ripe banana


  1. Mix all the ingredients using the blender.
  2. Transfer to bottles and chill.



  • Serving Size: 8 oz (245g)
  • Calories: 90
  • Carbs: 20g 6%
  • Sugar: 18g
  • Fiber: 0g 0%
  • Protein: 3g 6%
  • Fat: 0g 0%
  • Saturated Fat: 0g 0%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 71mg 2%
  • Vitamin C 100%
  • Vitamin A 19%
  • Calcium 10%
  • Iron 2%
  • Cobalamin 10%
  • Vitamin B6 10%

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