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Recipe: Homemade 'Popsicles'

Beat the heat with these easy, homemade sweet treats!

Nothing screams summer like cold, thirst-quenching ice pops, especially in the face of a heat wave. Water will keep you hydrated, but ice pops put a smile on your face. Even better than the ubiquitous cherry, grape and orange Popsicles you buy at the grocery store are homemade ice pops because you can create countless flavor combinations and control the quality of the ingredients. 

Popsicle-making is easy, fun and a great activity to do with kids. Let them get into the kitchen and help you chop ingredients and experiment with flavors. They will enjoy the fruits of their labor while you enjoy the fact that they’re, well, eating fruit!

This tutorial will demonstrate how to make a simple and delicious berry ice pop containing strawberries and blueberries, though you can use any fruit you like. Consider this recipe a guide that you can customize to make any number of ice pop flavors. At the end of this article you will also find recipes for a creamy ice pop as well as two special recipes for adults only!

Before we get started, here are a few tips that will help ensure your success:

  • You can buy popsicle molds online. Amazon has some great options. However, if you are impulsive and want to make popsicles immediately you can use a paper cup, like a Dixie cup. Simply put foil over it, cut a slit in the foil and insert a popsicle stick (or even a plastic spoon). The foil will keep the stick standing up straight while the popsicle freezes.
  • If you have a hard time removing the frozen popsicles from their molds, simply run the molds under hot water for a few seconds and they should slide right out.
  • Fruit juices freeze hard. If you want a slightly softer popsicle, throw in some chunks of fruit and that will help loosen it up. Along the same lines, simple sugar syrups freeze creamier than granulated sugar so if you have the time, make a simple syrup like the one in this tutorial.
  • Leave a little room at the top of your molds when you fill them because liquids swell as they freeze. A half inch will do the trick.
  • If you are making a layered popsicle make sure each layer has roughly the same consistency. You want each layer to freeze at the same rate and hold together when you unmold it.

Now, on to the fun part—let’s make ice pops! For step by step pictures, view the gallery on the right. First, gather your ingredients. Use local and organic ingredients whenever possible!

BERRY ICE POP

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice

Directions

Put the sugar and water in a saucepan over high heat. Stir constantly until the liquid comes to a boil, then remove it from the heat and set aside.

Wash the blueberries and drop them into a blender. Wash, hull and slice the strawberries and add them to the blender. Finally, add the lemon juice to the blender and blend the ingredients for about 30 to 60 seconds, or until they are well-combined. Then, add 1/3 cup of the simple syrup to the mixture and blend just to combine.

Pour the fruit mixture into clean popsicle molds, leaving a half-inch space at the top. Insert the sticks and place the molds into the freezer for at least 4 to 6 hours.

When ready to eat, simply run the mold under warm water for a few seconds and the frozen ice pop should slide right out! This recipe makes approximately 6 ice pops. To serve, briefly run the molds under warm water and the ice pops should slide right out. Enjoy!

Try this ice pop recipe, then come up with some of your own! Play around with different ingredients and consistencies to see what your family likes. For example, some people like chunks of fruit in their popsicles, while others like them smooth. I, personally, love a tart and creamy popsicle and often add Greek yogurt to mine.  Below are three bonus recipes that are definitely worth trying. The first is a creamy and nutritious concoction using all the ingredients you’d find in a strawberry and banana smoothie. The second two are geared for adults and would be delicious served at a cookout!

STRAWBERRY BANANA SMOOTHIE POPS

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pint strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • 2 (8 ounces) containers strawberry yogurt
  • 1 cup milk

Directions:

Wash and hull the strawberries and drop them into a blender. Peel the banana and drop it, in chucks, into the blender. Add the yogurt and milk and blend until smooth, about 30 to 60 seconds. Pour the mixture into clean molds, insert sticks and freeze 4 to 6 hours. Makes approximately 6 ice pops. (If you have any left over, it’s also a delicious smoothie!)

COFFEE POPS

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups strongly brewed coffee
  • 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

Directions:

This one couldn’t be simpler! Mix the two ingredients together and pour the mixture into molds. Make these to taste, adding as much milk as you like. Consider adding cocoa powder (a teaspoon or so) or chocolate syrup to create “mocha” ice pops! Freeze 4 to 6 hours and enjoy! Makes 6 ice pops.

WATERMELON MARGARITA ICE POPS

Ingredients

  • 2 cups watermelon puree
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 ounces tequila
  • 2/3 cup sugar

Directions

To create a watermelon puree, simply add chunks of watermelon to a blender and blend. Place the puree into the bowl and add all the other ingredients. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved and no longer grainy. Pour the smooth mixture into popsicle molds and freeze 8 hours (alcoholic popsicles take longer to freeze than nonalcoholic ones). Makes 6 popsicles. If you have any left over, I think you know what to do...

Note: These melt fast because of the alcohol, so eat quickly!

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