A fresh and nutritious green smoothie with pear, ginger, parsley, and bee pollen.
Spring is in the air, right? It’s March, so it has to be.
I always find this time of year so tedious. The deepest of the winter months are behind us, but we’ve still got a good stretch to go before the warmer weather arrives. The light is coming back just enough to tease, and it’s like, c’mon spring, let’s do this already!
Living way up north, there’s still a ways to go before fresh food will start to arrive. I find myself looking for ways to bridge the seasons, to eat with the lightness of spring but using the still limited produce that winter has to offer. I’ve always found pears to be a fruit that straddles the seasons well. They weather the winter, but still offer that juicy freshness that I associate with spring.
I’ve been craving parsley something fierce lately, so it was a logical partner to the pear, along with celery, spinach, lemon juice, and a bit of bee pollen. The bee pollen isn’t necessary, but it adds a nice zip to the smoothie. Its flavour is something special; quite floral (obviously) with notes of honey and lemon, and the flavours will change depending on what kind of flowers the bees have been collecting pollen from. If you want a strictly vegan smoothie, you can leave the bee pollen out. Or, if you don’t have bee pollen on hand and don’t want to make a special trip to get some, this smoothie won’t suffer without it. But if you do have it or have been wanting to try, this is a good place, and I think you’ll appreciate the zippy flavour – it just tastes like spring. Happy blending!
What’s the deal with bee pollen? It’s the pollen that honey bees collect from flowers and take back to the hive to store for food. As the bees return to their hive, they pack the pollen they have collected into large granules, a process during which the pollen is mixed with nectar, enzymes, and other organisms. The resulting granules of bee pollen are much higher in nutrition content than untreated pollen, and is the primary food source for the hive.
Bee pollen is said to contain nearly every single nutrient the human body needs in order to survive. It’s surprisingly high in protein (20-35% by weight) and includes all 22 amino acids. It’s also jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Since bee pollen is a highly concentrated food supplement, and considering it’s harvested from flowers, it’s really important to source your bee pollen from a pesticide-free environment. Although I’ve seen bee pollen available at many health food stores and even supermarkets, my preference is to buy it from the farmer’s market so I can actually have a conversation with the beekeeper and ask about the source, etc.
Granules of bee pollen should be quite soft, and dissolve easily on the tongue. They should never be crunchy! Although many sufferers of seasonal allergies actually experience some relief when they start taking bee pollen, this is a powerful food and needs to be introduced to the body slowly. A very small percentage of the population is severely allergic to bee pollen (particularly those who are allergic to bees or other bee products such as honey), so it’s best to use caution when trying something new for the first time. Start with a small amount (1 tsp for adults, just a few granules for children) and increase your intake slowly, by just a few grains at a time. Daily intake should be maximum 1 Tbsp for adults and ½ tsp for children.
- 1 medium pear
- ½ cup packed parsley
- 1 stalk celery
- 1-2 cups packed spinach leaves
- 1 Tbsp chunk (about the size of your thumb) fresh ginger
- juice of ½ a lemon (more to taste)
- 1 tsp bee pollen
- Combine all ingredients in a blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Pour into a glass, and enjoy!
-I often use frozen spinach in this smoothie, throwing in a couple of handfuls of frozen spinach cubes in place of fresh leaves