Want to beat the heat and have a little fun with the kids?  Make popsicles! It’s been at least 96 degrees every day in Missouri for over two weeks (107 last Tuesday!) and my entire yard, plus the garden and the kids are drooping.  I can’t bring myself to cook much or to eat hot foods, so my boys and I have been slurping breakfast smoothies and making frozen pops instead.

Boy eating popsicle.

Aidan loves his apple juice popsicles!

The easiest way to make a popsicle is to put your favorite juice in a plastic popsicle mold and freeze it at least 6 hours or overnight.  Alternatively, you may use ANY small, food safe container with any kind of wood or plastic stick as your popsicle mold (put saran wrap over the container to keep the stick in place until it freezes).  Be creative for some fun!

If you want to experiment with popsicles, keep a few things in mind.

  • Most popsicle recipes can double as a slushie or a smoothie.
  • Conversely, most smoothie or slushie recipes can double as popsicles (omit the ice cubes from slushie recipes).
  • Most things don’t taste as sweet when you freeze them, so you might want to add slightly more sweetener than you think you need.
  • Coconut milk can be substituted for milk or yogurt in most popsicle recipes if you want a dairy-free alternative.
  • You can also use water or juice as a substitute for milk.
  • Use honey, maple syrup, liquid Stevia, Splenda or confectioners sugar to sweeten pops instead of regular sugar or your pop will be grainy.  Be sure to blend the sweeteners well!
  • You can use whole, “chunky” or fully pureed fresh fruit.
  • Liquid expands when freezing so leave a little room at the top.
  • If you use milk or yogurt, partially freezing the pop in an ice cream maker first will give you a creamier pop.
  • Using Greek yogurt in place of regular yogurt gives a creamier, higher protein pop.
  • Using condensed milk instead of regular milk gives a creamier pop (although I personally don’t like the taste as much.)
  • Hand wash plastic molds!  The heat from dishwashers can release toxins from the plastic which will get into your food the next time you use them.
  • Hold the popsicle mold in your hand (or run under warm, not hot, water) until the popsicle slides out easily.

Here’s a couple fabulous popsicle recipes to get you started.  You may want to add more sugar if you aren’t on a controlled carbohydrate diet.  I tend to go really light on the sugar or sweetener because I don’t enjoy overly sweet desserts.

Coconut Cream Pops

1 14 oz. can coconut milk
1 cup milk or water (or go crazy and add more coconut milk . . .)
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut (not flaked!)
3 tablespoons honey OR 1/4 cup powdered sugar OR 1/2 tsp. liquid Stevia (see note)
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all ingredients until well blended.  Pour into popsicle molds and freeze overnight (at least 6 hours.)

Yeild: about 3 cups popsicle mix (This makes 12-14 pops with my molds)

Note: You may want to use up to 3/4 cup powdered sugar in this recipe if you like things really sweet.

Melon Pops

4 cups cantaloupe, watermelon, or honeydew melon
1/2 cup plain yogurt (optional)
1 cup orange juice (or apple juice or pineapple juice)

Put all of the ingredients in the blender and mix until well-pureed.  Pour the mix into popsicle molds and freeze overnight or at least 6 hours.  Alternatively, make different layers using watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew for a pastel-striped fun pop.  Let each layer set (about 3 hours) before adding the next layer.  My favorite combinations are cantaloupe with orange juice and honeydew with pineapple juice.

Yeild: About 3 1/2 cups mix

Strawberry Lemonade Pops

8 ounces strawberries
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup lemon juice (juice from 1 good-sized lemon or two smaller lemons)
3 tablespoons honey OR 1/4 cup confectioners sugar or 1/2 teaspoon liquid Stevia*

Put all of the ingredients in the blender and blend until well mixed.  Put into popsicle molds and freeze overnight or at least 6 hours.

Yeild: about 3 cups popsicle mix

Note:  Again, you may want to increase the sugar in this recipe.

Time Saver: To save time, use 1 1/2 cups lemonade from concentrate in place of the water, lemon, and sugar.

Get the Kids to Help:  My boys love measuring and putting all the ingredients in the blender and pushing the button.  They also love putting the sticks into the popsicle molds.  Most young children, however, don’t have the patience to wait for the popsicles to be done six hours later.  If you know you’re going to make special popsicles, you might want to freeze some plain juice ones the night before to have as a snack when the coconut cream ones are setting.  Alternatively, add a little ice to some of the stawberry lemonade mix and blend it in the blender for about 15 seconds to make a slushee.  Having a slushee now keeps kids from being upset that they have to wait until tomorrow for their popsicles.

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