July 06, 2010

One of my earliest memories of summer is sitting on a porchwith an ice-cold popsicle dripping down my arm. I still love them (and so doesmy daughter), so with summer in full swing I thought it was time to talkpopsicles. Forget the store-bought stuff that is usually made of anything butfruit – it’s ridiculously easy to make your own and customize your flavors.

First, the equipment. You can go big and get a snazzyice-pop mold with a built-in drop holder (I like the Tovolo brand Rocket IcePop Molds). Or go low-tech and simply use wooden popsicle sticks, waxed papercups, or parchment cones.

Second, the flavors. For fruit pops the options are endless:whatever fruit is in your store (or in the juice aisle) can become a popsicle:lemon, lime, and orange are old standards but try watermelon, blueberry, kiwi,or even avocado. (I like peaches n’ cream, a twist on the Orangesicle.) Coconutmilk and spices (such as ginger or cardamom) can add an exotic twist.

The biggest problem with homemade juice popsicles is thatthey are too icy. A higher sugar to water ratio will help reduce the iciness.Alternatively you can add a little corn syrup. If you use ready-made juice orlemonade, boil it down first, reducing the juice by about a half and add alittle corn syrup to boost the flavor. If you’re averse to corn syrup,substitute agave syrup or honey instead. For creamy popsicles, use condensedmilk for a denser flavor, although yogurt and regular milk work just as well.For the adult crowd, experiment with flavors like lime and tequila, peachProsecco, or vodka-strawberry. Or add a dash of an unusual syrup likeelderflower or rosewater. They make a surprise ending to a summer barbecue!

Finally, don’t forget to plan ahead! Popsicles need to setfor at least 7 hours before serving.

CreamyStrawberry Pops 

  • ½ pound strawberries, hulled and washed
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  1. Mash strawberries in a large bowl with a potato masher.Transfer to a nonstick skillet and add the sugar and lemon juice. Cook overmedium heat, stirring occasionally until the mixure thickens, about 8 minutes.Transfer to a bowl, let cool for a few minutes, and then freeze until cold,about 10 minutes.
  2. Scoop the ice cream into a baking dish and let sit 5 minutesuntil slightly softened. Place in the freezer while the strawberries chill.
  3. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and spoon thestrawberries over the top. Gently swirl the strawberries into the ice cream. Spooninto popsicle molds and freeze until firm, about 3 to 4 hours. Makes 6 popsicles