Is it just us, or have the past few months been warmer than ever? Dealing with the heat is a daily affair for us tropical folks, so we use every possible method available to cool down when the mercury starts rising.
And yummy ice cream usually does the trick with everyone, not just the little ones. However, since these are chockfull of sugar and additives, you’ll want to ease up on how often you dole them out.
Fruit is always a great substitute ― packed full of nutrients, including antioxidants, they taste even better when frozen. If you’re in the mood to kick it up a notch, whip a batch of these fruit-based popsicles. Your kiddos will surely love the fun new flavours in these refreshingly cool treats!
Strawberry-Basil Ice Pops
Serves 10 to 12 ice pops
Sweet basil’s slight anise flavour adds a fragrance to the strawberries in this ice pop
· ⅓ cup sugar
· ⅓ cup (10g) fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
· 2½ cups (315g) strawberries, hulled and halved
· 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
· Pinch of salt
1. Combine the sugar and basil in a small saucepan. Pour in ⅓ cup (80ml) of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove the syrup from the heat and cool to room temperature.
2. Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain the basil syrup into a blender or food processor, discarding the basil leaves. Add the strawberry halves, lemon juice and salt. Process until very smooth.
3. If using conventional ice-pop moulds, divide the mixture among the moulds. Cover and freeze until solid, at least for four hours of up to three days. If using sticks, insert them into the moulds when the pops are partially frozen (after about one hour), then freeze until solid, for at least three more hours. If using silicone cupcake moulds, follow the same steps. Remove pops by carefully pulling on the sticks.
Top Tip! Place a small potted basil plant in your kitchen for easy access to this herb. It requires little care ― just water ― and picking its leaves actually helps to promote its growth.
Pink Lemonade Ice Pops
Makes 9 to 11 ice pops
Just blend two strawberries in lemonade and voila, you get the signature pink hue and rich lemony flavour.
· 1 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
· ½ cup (125ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice ( from about 4 lemons)
· ½ cup, plus 2 tbsps superfine sugar
· 2 fresh or frozen strawberries, hulled
· Pinch of salt
1. In a blender or food processor, combine the lemon zest, juice and the sugar. Pour in 1¾ cups (430ml) of water. Add the strawberries and salt and blend until the mixture is smooth and pink.
2. If you’re using conventional ice-pop moulds, divide the mixture among them. Cover and freeze until solid, for at least four hours or up to three days. If using sticks, insert them into the moulds when the pops are partially frozen (after about one hour), then continue to freeze until solid, for at least another three hours.
3. If using an instant ice-pop maker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to fill the moulds and freeze the pops.
Top Tip! Don’t own conventional ice-pop moulds? Use drinking glasses instead! Simply pour your pop mixture into the glass and freeze partially, for about an hour. Insert ice-cream sticks and freeze till the ice pops are completely firm. Run the glass under warm water and pull carefully on the sticks to remove the pops.
Green Tea Pomegranate Ice Pops
Makes 6 to 10 ice pops
Packed with antioxidants, these pops have a slightly sweet flavour and a beautiful colour combination that will surely please.
· ¼ cup (60g) sugar
· 3 bags green tea
· 1½ tsps freshly-squeezed lemon juice
· 1 tbsp clover honey, or to taste (optional)
· ½ cup (60g) pomegranate seeds (from 1 small pomegranate)
1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar and 2 cups (500ml) of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool for five minutes.
2. Add the tea bags and steep until the tea has cooled to room temperature. Remove and discard the tea bags and transfer the tea to a 500ml measuring pitcher with a pour spout. Add the lemon juice and the honey, if using.
3. If using conventional ice-pop moulds, divide the pomegranate seeds evenly among the moulds. Pour the green tea mixture into each mould just to cover the seeds. When the pops are partially frozen (after about one hour), pour the remaining green tea mixture into the moulds to fill. Freeze until solid, for at least three hours. If using sticks, insert them into the moulds when the pops are partially frozen (after about one hour), then freeze until solid, for at least three more hours.
4. If using an instant ice-pop maker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to fill the moulds, layering the mixtures as above, and freeze the pops.
Top Tip! Once the pomegranate fruit is picked from the tree, it stops ripening. It becomes more flavourful after being stored.
Recipes reprinted from Shelly Kaldunski’s Ice Pops, photographs by Lauren Burke, with permission from Weldon Owen Inc.
Photos: iStock and Shelly Kaldunski’s Ice Pops.