Well friends, the time has come upon us once again. Grab a paper towel – nay, take a baby wipe or two, because it’s about to get sticky. That’s right – it’s ice pop season! But before you all run out to your local market and buy that high-fructose corn syrup treat, or even worse, spend $7 on a tiny box of frozen organic sugar, bear this in mind: you, yes YOU, can make your own ice pops this summer in your very own kitchen (you’re running the freezer anyway, so it won’t cost you more on your electrical bill)!
Ice pop making is not just a soccer mom’s pastime, it is actually an art. There are many different ways to make your own ice pops using a variety of ingredients. Here I present to you a smattering, if you will, of the possibilities in ice pop cuisine.
1. The Basic Ice Pop
This is what I used to do as a kid. I would take a Dixie cup and fill it with my favorite juice. Then I would place an ice pop stick in the middle and tape it to either side of the cup. Finally, I would stick it in the freezer. I have distinct memories of these being the yummiest ice pops ever.
Dixie cups work nicely, but it may behoove you to purchase an ice pop mold. The options are endless, from cheap plastic molds to the fancy silicone ones from high end kitchen stores. In my experience it doesn’t really matter what kind you buy.
2. The Fruit Ice Pop
Once you have a mold, start experimenting with different combinations of fresh fruit blends. Summer fruit like berries and peaches make delicious ice pops – just blend them up and put them in your mold to freeze. Some great fruit combos I have made are mango and orange juice, bananas and strawberries and raspberry and peach. If the blended fruit is too thick to pour into a mold, then it means you need to add some orange juice or water to get it to the right consistency.
3. The Pudding Ice Pop
Really, most desserts taste great when they are frozen. Pudding, it turns out, is no different. Make pudding according to the directions on the packet, pour into a Dixie cup, add an ice pop stick and put it in the freezer. A more aesthetic version of this dessert involves adding food coloring (and sprinkles!) and layering to make a rainbow ice pop!
4. The Yogurt Ice Pop
Another fun ice pop variation is the yogurt pop – a super healthy alternative to the store bought ice cream bars. As I have learned, frozen yogurt (the kind you buy) is really not yogurt, frozen. However, freezing yogurt is still really delicious, and much healthier when you buy the kind without corn syrup or natural flavors. Mix in some berries and pour it into your mold to create the perfect summer snack!
There really is so much you can do with homemade ice pops. Experiment with colors, shapes and ingredients to fit all your summer festivities!
Photo by insidious_plots/Flickr Creative Commons. See his recipe for this coffee flavored ice pop here.