There is nothing quite like an ice pop to quench your thirst during the hot days of summer.
We’ve all, at one time or another, filled up paper cups with juice or a pureed fruit and juice mixture, plunked a stick in it and stuck it in the freezer for four or five hours.
Since it’s such a kid-friendly treat, it’s only fitting that an 11-year-old boy named Frank invented the ice pop. OK, he did it by accident in 1903, and he originally named it the Epsicle (his last name was Epperson), but by the time his kids got hold of the frozen treat it had been renamed the Popsicle and history, as they say, was made.
Buying ice pops is now the way most enjoy the cold delicious treat, but I’m going to suggest that, as a fun summer project, moms and dads and kids of all ages challenge themselves to create wonderful and delicious homemade (no artificial colors, flavors or weird ingredients) ice pops for that time during the day when the sun and the fun have worn you down and you need to recharge your energy batteries
I’m including some “adult” recipes, as well as the kid-friendly ones.
Some of the recipes require simple syrup. Here it is:
1/2 cup water
Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Let cool. This recipe can be doubled or tripled depending on how much you need. It will stay in the refrigerator for a few weeks.
1 cup puréed fresh raspberries (keep it a little chunky)
1 cup puréed fresh apricots or peaches (keep it a little chunky)
1 cup puréed fresh mango (with bits of fruit)
About 1/2 cup sugar
Fresh lemon or lime juice
Zest of 1 fresh lemon or lime
Stir fruit purées in separate bowls and add sugar to taste and lemon or lime juice to taste. Pour the berry mixture about 1/3 up into 8 bar molds, add the sticks, and freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Refrigerate the remaining fruit mixtures. After 1 hour, spoon the mango purée into the molds about 2/3 of the way full and then return them to the freezer for 1 hour. At this point, spoon the apricot or peach layer into the mold or cup, cover and freeze for at least 2 more hours or until the top layer is frozen. Makes 8.
1 cup puréed mango
1 cup puréed ripe peaches
1/4 cup simple syrup
Juice of one lime or lemon juice (or to taste), fresh is best
6 to 8 ice pop sticks
Combine fruit purées in a medium bowl . Add the simple syrup to the fruit and mix to combine. Add lemon or lime juice to taste. If you have bar molds, fill them, leaving some room at the top to allow for expansion. Set the lids in place and insert the sticks through the holes. If you don’t have popsicle molds, fill small cups or empty yogurt tubs about 3/4 full, stretch plastic or foil across the top and make a small slit to insert sticks. Freeze until firmly set, 3 to 4 hours.
Note: You can add 1/2 cup sweet white wine if you want it to be an adult treat
3 cups seedless watermelon purée
1 ounce simple syrup
2 ounces light rum (Bacardi makes watermelon rum that is great in this recipe)
In the blender or food processor, combine the simple syrup and watermelon purée. Pulse or combine just until mixed. Add the run. Pulse or purée just until combined. Pour mixture into ice pop molds. Add sticks and freeze for 8 hours. Makes 6.