Popsicles are a wonderful treat.
You can enjoy at every age, anytime of the year. I make popsicles year round. While I find homemade ice cream and ice cream makers an imposition, popsicles are not trouble at all.
The beauty about making popsicles at home is, beside being much more delicious and much more affordable than their commercial counterparts, you have complete control of what you put in.
To make my popsicles, I don’t follow any recipe, but I have some guidelines I want to share with you:
I make my popsicles in my Vitamix.
Seriously: Can I interest you in the purchase of a Vitamix? Expensive, yes, as blenders go, but an incomparable investment. No high power blender comes close. When I saw with my own eyes what a Vitamix could do, I stopped using a juicer. So sorry but I found juicing expensive and high maintenance, and you throw all those valuable fibers. With the Vitamix, you throw everything in, and end up with a perfect shake or smoothie without leaving any part of your food behind. And here’s another magical thing with the Vitamix: Say you spotted a few veggies and herbs in your fridge, not enough to make a batch of anything much out of them. No problem: Throw them in the Vitamix and let it churn them for a good few minutes, pretty soon you will have a blender full of HOT soup, ready to enjoy right on the spot, no cooking whatsoever!
Now that I sang the praises of the Vitamix, let me still assure you that if you don’t have one, a food processor or blender will be a respectable second choice.
I make my popsicles with frozen fruit.
Not only because frozen fruit gives my popsicles a huge head start, reducing the freezing time by more than half, but because frozen fruit is ideally ripe and sweet, clean and ready whenever you are. There is no end of frozen fruit in the frozen section of your supermarket: berries, pineapple, mango, peaches, cherries, rhubarb, to name just a few.
I make my popsicles in anything I get my hands on. I used to obsess about the best popsicle molds, and bought dozens of them, but never found the ideal one: some of them require that you actually detach the mold, so the mold almost always gets lost; I hate the silicone ones, which giggle and spill in the freezer; some of them are somewhat hard to get the popsicles out of, but the latter are what I most often use: running a little hot water will loosen up the popsicle you want to get out, with just a little leg work. I also use small hot cups, like espresso cups, plant the popsicle sticks in the center and call it a day.
You can even use an oversize ice cube tray.
I make my popsicles using bananas for perfect suspension and smooth texture:
Bananas are very sweet and creamy, so you need very little more to sweeten your popsicles. No matter what I am making my popsicles with, I always include 2 very ripe bananas. So don’t do anything rash like throwing your very ripe bananas away, Gd Forbid. Freeze them! when you are ready to use them, run warm water over them, the peel will come right off.
Let me just preface this paragraph with these recommendations:
– Do not thaw any of the fruit, throw the frozen fruit right in your blender.
– Blend your ingredients until they are very smooth. Pour your mixture into popsicle molds or small cups. Insert the popsicle stick carefully in the center of each mold. Depending on the size of your molds, you will get between 10 and 14 popsicles.
– Start by throwing in your blender your liquid ingredients, then put in the frozen fruit on top. The bottom liquid ingredients will propel the top frozen ingredients very easily.
So here come some of my favorite combos for popsicles, from very basic to very fancy.
- 2 cups frozen berries and/or cherries, in any combination, 2 frozen bananas, 1/3 cup coconut sugar, honey or maple syrup (or 2 tablespoons stevia), 1/3 cup water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 pouch Levana Nourishments Mixed Berry
Going all out? Jazz up the mixture with 3 tablespoons creme de cassis, and a few mint or basil leaves. Replace the water with red wine.
- 2 cups frozen pineapple chunks, 2 frozen bananas, 1/3 cup sugar, honey or maple syrup (or 2 tablespoons stevia), 1/3 cup water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, Levana Nourishments Vanilla Bean
Going all out? Jazz up the mixture with 3 tablespoons dark rum, a good pinch ground white pepper. Replace the water with white wine.
- 2 cups frozen mango chunks, 2 frozen bananas, 1/3 cup sugar, honey or maple syrup (or 2 tablespoons stevia), 1/3 cup water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, Levana Nourishments Vanilla Bean
Going all out? Jazz up the mixture with 3 tablespoons tequila, grated ginger, pinch cayenne. Replace the water with unsweetened lychee juice or mango nectar.
- 2 cups frozen grapes, 2 frozen bananas, 1/3 cup sugar, honey or maple syrup (or 2 tablespoons no bitter aftertaste stevia), 1/3 cup water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, Levana Nourishments Vanilla Bean
Going all out? Jazz up the mixture with 3 tablespoons vodka or slivovitz, 1 teaspoon matcha, a few rosemary leaves. Replace the water with sake.
OK. After this little popsicles crash course, you will be on your way to becoming a popsicles pro! Please be a pal and share what crazy combos you come up with, using the tried and true ratios suggested above and using any variations that appeal to you: other frozen fruit, other liquors, other herbs, other spices. Just remember as always: Good stuff goes in, great stuff comes out!