Vyssino Smoothie with kiwi

“Smashed” Vyssino Smoothie with Kiwi, Spinach, Peaches & Almond Milk

In the vast majority of recipes in this ongoing collection, I’ve steered clear of refined sugar as an ingredient. But the truth is that some of the most traditional preparations on Ikaria and elsewhere in Greece are the fruits, nuts, and young vegetables preserved in sugar syrup called glyka tou koutaliou. or spoon sweets. Vyssino, which is the name for sour cherries in Greek, is an important fruit on the island. Cherry trees abound on the northern side of Ikaria at its highest altitudes and every June, when they are in season, home cooks busy themselves with preserving them. Whenever my late aunt, who passed away at 98, had a tummy ache or just needed an energy boost, she would take a spoonful of her homemade vyssino and tell me it was her secret medicine. I’ve been taking her advice ever since! In this recipe for a fruit smoothie sweetened with Vyssino, I highly recommend the sour cherry preserves on my site. It's the only such preserve I have ever tasted that comes close to the homemade country version I recall as a child. Smoothies definitely were not in old recipe files of my aunt’s generation. But they are a great way to create a healthy snack for young and old alike. This is even better if you freeze the banana before using it!
15 min


  • 2 ripe kiwis peeled and chopped
  • 1 large ripe peach or nectarine
  • 1 ripe banana
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup fresh spinach or kale preferably organic
  • ½ cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk
  • 10 ice cubes
  • ½ cup Greek vyssino sour cherries in syrup or any sour cherries in syrup or fresh ripe strawberries, hulled and halved, plus 1 Tbsp petimezi or maple syrup


  1. In the container of a blender or smoothie maker, combine the kiwi, peach or nectarine, banana, citrus juices, spinach or kale, mint and coconut or almond milk.. Add 10 ice cubes.
  2. Process until frothy and totally pureed and thin, if necessary, to desired consistency with a little additional water or milk.
  3. If using vyssino, mash with a fork in a small bowl and divide the mixture between the two glasses. If using strawberries and maple syrup or petimezi, mash them together with a fork in a small bowl and divide between the two glasses. Pour in the green smoothie. Use a spoon or a straw to swirl the red fruit mixture up the sides of the glass a bit. Serve and enjoy!

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