Homemade Ice Pop Guide

Ice pops. Can a kid live through summer without them?
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I think not. Not even I can! But when I look at what’s available at the grocery freezer, it makes me want to gag. Either the ingredients or the price of healthier organic pops are gag worthy. Still, they all are loaded with way more sugar than we are used to and it is not something I want my toddler to get attached to. Fruit is our candy, and I like to keep it that way. Don’t mean to brag – but my toddler is the one who, while eating homemade cookies, says “And then for dessert we’re going to have an omelette!”

Homemade ice pops are so easy to make! You don’t even need any special equipment, though it is nice to have an ice pop mold. For my first attempt at ice pops I just used plastic tumblers with plastic gelato sticks I happened to have in the house. I would love to own a forty dollar stainless steel ice pop maker, but that would be a splurge. Instead we got a fifteen dollar pop mold that makes ten pops at once. It’s plastic, but I figured if we’re pouring cold juice and fruit in there it isn’t a big deal. It is hot liquids in plastics that you have to be cautious about.

Process: Making an ice pop is as simple as making a smoothie. All you really need is a blender. I love to combine fruits and berries that we may have in the house with any real 100% juice, rice milk, coconut milk. If you have no blender, you could even attempt a simple juice and whole/chopped fruit pop – no blending required. Prepare your mixture, pour into a mold, insert sticks (or wait until half way set in freezer if you don’t have ice pop mold), freeze for a minimum of two to three hours (depending on your freezer). Voila, ice pops!

Ingredients: No ice pop I make is ever the same, but a typical one goes something like this: fresh blueberries, fresh or frozen strawberries, mango, banana, organic french vanilla yogurt, orange juice, rice milk, and apple juice. I often buy a whole papaya and use half of it in a smoothie when ripe, then freeze it into an ice pop. There is really no wrong way to make an ice pop. You can hide vegetables in them too – spinach, carrots, steamed sweet potatoes, beans for extra protein. You can even make herbal tea pops sweetened with honey that are great for sick kids! My favorite go-to source for inspiration is Ice Pop Joy by Anni Daulter. I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing her book and it was an instant hit, the ideas are endless.

Sweet: Rarely do the ice pops I make require any additional sweetening. But when they do, such as a pop made with plain organic yogurt, I add a spoonful of honey or real maple syrup. Healthy and delicious!

Tools: You can’t go wrong with a blender for making ice pops. Plus a cool smoothie is great on a hot day as well. Other than that, you may want to invest in an ice pop mold to make your life easier. Plastic ones are okay, stainless ones are awesome and will last indefinitely.

Photo: D. Sharon Pruitt

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