My husband is a popsicle junkie. He will consume popsicles morning noon and night. Unfortunately, my children have inherited this dubious trait. A few weeks ago we were on vacation in St. Pete and stopped by the Saturday Morning Market at the Al Lang Stadium. Why are all the best markets so far from home? Why is the grass always greener on the other side of the fence?
We meandered amongst herbal scented soaps, local, organic vegetables, and a truly international sampling of foods. Without a doubt, we voted the popsicle lady our favorite vendor. People queued six deep for her treats and the selection had dwindled when our turn came to her frosty treasure chest. From her exotic selections, we chose blueberry basil, grapefruit mint, strawberry and coconut. The frozen juice was redolent with blueberry seeds and grapefruit fibers with flakes of icy mint which lent succulent texture to the pops. The icy, just-picked strawberry mash and the tropical, flake laced creamy coconut burst with candid fruit flavor. The brilliant use of herbs mixed with the freshest fruit really got me thinking. I present to you the fruits (punny, I know) of my mental and physical labors:
Now, I would try to recreate specific, formal recipes for these lovely gems, but in the spirit of spontaneity and creativity, I devised general guidelines to help you create pops using the ingredients your family likes and what you have on hand. For delightful, adults-only pops add, oh say, a shot (or two) of vodka, rum, or tequila (now let’s be rational here, the adult versions would NOT be the best choice for breakfast).
For all I used 3 oz. Dixie cups and craft sticks. I kept sugar to a minimum, but the more sugar you add, the slushier (and better textured) the pops will be.
Grapefruit-mint: I squeezed the juice of four grapefruits leaving some of the fiber but not the pith (the white stuff) and dissolved four teaspoons sugar in the juice (basically one tsp sugar per fruit – more if you want). I stirred in one tablespoon chopped fresh mint and then divided the mix between four cups and dropped in one small chunk of grapefruit per cup.
Watermelon-Pomegranate-Strawberry Fizz: I juiced one cup of watermelon chunks in the blender, added 1/4 cup pomegranate juice and then 1/2 cup strawberry flavored fizzy mineral water. Divide between four cups. This one would be good with mint too but I didn’t want to overdo that particular herb.
Blackberry-peach-honey yogurt: I thawed one bag of frozen blackberries and pureed them (seeds and all) in the blender. We like chunky food with texture so I left the seeds in – the puree could certainly be strained if you prefer. For the peach portion, I chopped 4 fresh peaches and pureed them in the blender with just a little water to get them going (again I left the peel on). My peaches weren’t ripe enough so I added a couple of teaspoons of sugar – the blackberries were perfect so I left them without added sugar. To 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt I added 2 tablespoons of honey. To assemble, I dropped in one whole blackberry, added a big dollop of yogurt, then used spoons to ladle the purees on top of one another to keep them separate when they froze.
The next morning I found the boys (my husband and two sons) standing outside the freezer yelling, “Mommy we want popsicles!” Because I knew all of the ingredients and really they are fairly healthy, I conceded. These frozen treats have certainly raised the bar.