One of my earliest memories of summer is sitting on a porch with an ice-cold popsicle dripping down my arm. I still love them (and so does my daughter), so with summer in full swing I thought it was time to talk popsicles. Forget the store-bought stuff that is usually made of anything but fruit – it’s ridiculously easy to make your own and customize your flavors.
First, the equipment. You can go big and get a snazzy ice-pop mold with a built-in drop holder (I like the Tovolo brand Rocket Ice Pop Molds). Or go low-tech and simply use wooden popsicle sticks, waxed paper cups, 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.) Coconut milk and spices (such as ginger or cardamom) can add an exotic twist.
The biggest problem with homemade juice popsicles is that they 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 or lemonade, boil it down first, reducing the juice by about a half and add a little corn syrup to boost the flavor. If you’re averse to corn syrup, substitute agave syrup or honey instead. For creamy popsicles, use condensed milk for a denser flavor, although yogurt and regular milk work just as well. For the adult crowd, experiment with flavors like lime and tequila, peach Prosecco, or vodka-strawberry. Or add a dash of an unusual syrup like elderflower or rosewater. They make a surprise ending to a summer barbecue!
Finally, don’t forget to plan ahead! Popsicles need to set for at least 7 hours before serving.
Creamy Strawberry Pops
- ½ pound strawberries, hulled and washed
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 pint vanilla ice cream
- Mash strawberries in a large bowl with a potato masher. Transfer to a nonstick skillet and add the sugar and lemon juice. Cook over medium 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.
- Scoop the ice cream into a baking dish and let sit 5 minutes until slightly softened. Place in the freezer while the strawberries chill.
- Remove the ice cream from the freezer and spoon the strawberries over the top. Gently swirl the strawberries into the ice cream. Spoon into popsicle molds and freeze until firm, about 3 to 4 hours. Makes 6 popsicles