Its hot outside. Cool yourself off with a homemade popsicle!
Last Summer, I was commuting by bike to a week long dogsitting gig on the other side of town. It was hot and sticky, I was tired... I opened the dog owner's freezer and found a box of "all natural" popsicles. I honestly don't think I'd eaten a popsicle since I was a kid; I guess I've been missing out all of these years because, damn, popsicles are good!
By the end of the week I had eaten the entire box and felt like I should buy the dogowners a new one. I was astonished by how pricey the popsicles were- almost $6 for half a dozen. This is why I never buy prepackaged, ready to eat foods: they are expensive and create a lot of waste. From that box of popsicles, I threw away 6 wooden sticks, 6 plastic wrappers, and a box. Also, even the 100% fruit popsicles have added mystery ingredients. They're not as healthy as they could be.
I wanted to continue eating popsicles, so I started making my own. I purchased two plastic molds with plastic sticks that each hold four popsicles. I wasn't thrilled to be buying more plastic, but the molds can be reused indefinitely. When making the juice for the popsicle, I never follow a recipe, but just use whatever fruits I have on hand. I blend fruit together with my immersion blender, then pour the liquid into the molds and stick them in the freezer. Some popsicles come out better than others. Here are some tricks I've learned:
1. Use basically all of the same ingredients you'd use in a smoothie, except omit the yogurt, milk, and water. Milk and water give the popsicle a not so pleasant, icy texture. In other words, make the popsicle from all fruit and vegetables.
2. For some reason, frozen juice tastes less sweet than when its in its liquid form, so make the popsicle sweeter than you think you need to. I make my popsicles sweeter by adding 1/2 teaspoon of my homemade Electrolyte Powder Mix to the juice blend. This electrolyte mix is sugar-free and contains stevia for sweetness and potassium chloride and sea salt for electrolytes. Having electrolytes in your popsicle is important on a hot, sweaty day.
3. Add a few spoonfuls of frozen juice concentrate to your fruit blend. The fruit concentrate helps to heighten the sweet, fruity flavor, but does not add the extra water that reconstituted fruit juice has. The frozen concentrate also improves the texture of the popsicle. Be sure to check the labels carefully as many frozen concentrates contain added sugar and high fructose corn syrup. The concentrate containers, unfortunately, are thrown out or recycled, but I can make many batches of popsicles from one container.
4. Keep experimenting! Try adding a handful of kale to the blend or add whatever fresh fruits are in season. Frozen fruits are also great to add.
The popsicle in the photo above was a particularly good blend. It was made of fresh kiwi, fresh honeydew melon, electrolyte mix, a splash of lime juice, and white grape frozen juice concentrate. Another favorite blend: seedless watermelon, fresh kiwi or strawberries, cranberry juice concentrate, a splash of lemon juice, and a handful of dried gogi berries.
Have fun and stay cool!