Tuesday, May 22, 2012
It all started when I discovered that the peaches--a whole case from Costco--were suddenly all ripe. It was too hot to turn on the oven, so I decided to make popsicles. I pureed the peaches, poured them in the mold, and threw in some blueberries for visual interest. The result? Delicious frozen treats without artificial ingredients. Next thing I knew, I was making popsicles out of watermelon, strawberries, mangos, even applesauce.
I found that I liked the texture of the pureed-fruit popsicles better than when I simply poured orange or mango juice into the mold. My favorite store-bought popsicle is Edy's Real Fruit strawberry. It tastes like pureed strawberries, not icy like frozen fruit juice. They add carob bean gum and guar gum to make a more stable, smoother texture. Unless you add these ingredients to your popsicles, they will still have an icy texture.
The last time I bought Edy's Real Fruit popsicles, they cost about $5 for a package of twelve 1.5 oz pops. And if the price doesn't bother me, I have to consider the packaging: individually wrapped in cellophane. In addition to reducing packaging, I usually make good use of ripe fruit that may otherwise end up in the compost bin. Not only am I making wholesome treats for my family, I'm saving the planet!
Although I could have scraped by with my popsicle mold from the dollar store, I quickly realized that the design required me to unmold four popsicles--even when I didn't have four popsicle consumers. Enter the Tovolo Star Ice Pop mold. The mold comes with a set of six sleeves that can be removed individually. This means you can freeze different flavors at the same time and consume them one at a time. This feature is especially important to me, because my daughter is allergic to dairy. When I make Mango Lassi popsicles, I can use soy yogurt in some of them.
Here are some easy recipes to start you off. Soon you'll be coming up with your own. The method is really the same. Puree the fruit and balance with some citrus and sweetener. You may find that fruits that are ripe and in season, such as white peaches in the summer, don't need anything. However, no matter how sweet your strawberries seem, you will probably have to add some sugar. Next, think about adding healthy thickening ingredients, such as yogurt and banana. The key is to taste your puree before you pour it into the mold. Have fun experimenting!
Cuisinart SmartStick Hand Blender (or standing blender)
Tovolo Star Ice Pop Mold (or other mold with 1/3-cup sleeves)
4 c watermelon, cut into 1" cubes
zest of 1 lime
1 t lime juice
Agave syrup (optional)
Puree the watermelon until you have 2 cups of juice. Add lime zest and juice. If your watermelon is not very sweet, add agave to taste. Pour into popsicle mold and freeze for 3 hours. Makes 6 servings.
2 pints strawberries
2 to 3 t sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 t guar gum (optional)
Blend strawberries until you have 2 cups of puree. Add 2 t sugar. Taste. If it's too tart, add remaining sugar. While whisking, sprinkle guar gum slowly to avoid clumping. Pour into mold and freeze for 3 hours. Makes 6 servings.
Mango Lassi Popsicles
1-1/2 c pure mango juice
1/2 c plain Greek yogurt
Whisk mango juice and yogurt together. Pour into mold and freeze for 3 hours. Makes 6 servings.
1 c Silk chocolate soy milk
1 pint strawberries
Blend strawberries until you have 1 cup of puree. Blend in soy milk. Pour into mold and freeze for 3 hours. Makes 6 servings.
2 medium ripe bananas
1 c orange juice
Blend the banana until you have 2 cups of puree. Blend in orange juice. Pour into mold and freeze for 3 hours. Makes 6 servings.