The sun’s out, your baby’s teething and it’s time for a soothing summer treat. So, how exactly do you concoct the perfect popsicle?
Popsicle molds: There are several plastic molds on the market (I have to confess that I own a set), but there are other options available around your home. You can make mini-pops with icicle trays or individual used yogurt cups. Crate and Barrel made BPA-free popsicle molds earlier this year but they appear to have been discontinued. I’ve written to our friends at The Soft Landing about their safest choice for popsicle molds and will keep you posted on their response. If you prefer to avoid plastic altogether, you can use paper cups, carefully washing them out and reusing them each time. You can also try small juice glasses, ensuring that you gradually cool the glass so that it doesn’t crack with extreme temperature change.
The perfect recipe: Growing up, my mom made homemade popsicles out of fruit juice, but they were always extremely dense. We longed for those soft store-bought brands that seemed to melt in your mouth. If you’d like to get that texture at home, try blending in whole fruit or yogurt. The thicker mix will also make it easier for your popsicle sticks to stand up if you’re using ice cube trays or cups. If you’re up for using gelatin, (which vegetarians might not be) it will create a softer popsicle that doesn’t melt quite as quickly.
Natural Dripless Popsicles: These are a great way to recycle half eaten fruits and get healthy food into your child. Pictured is the momentous day that that I served Roscoe his first dripless popsicles. He ate four in a row in one sitting. When I asked him what he would dream about right before bedtime he said “sicles.” Luckily there was no reason to feel bad about his popsicle obsession since I used organic plums, my son’s half eaten bananas(tossed into the freezer over the last few weeks) and a bag of organic frozen blueberries. He loved them even though he’s usually picky about eating any of these fruits by themselves.
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup sugar (or other natural sweetner)
- Three cups of fruit
Heat water, gelatin and sugar in saucepan over low heat until gelatin dissolves, for about 5 minutes. Then toss gelatin mixture in the blender with fruit and puree. Pour the mixture into cups and wait until frozen. Enjoy!
A chocolate dream: I found a recipe for Berry Fudgy-cicles on vegan-food.net. and modified it just a bit. Honestly, these are completely amazing and taste way better than anything this healthy should. The secret ingredient for these homemade fudgesicles is silken tofu which provides them with plenty of nutritional prestige. I’m not sure if this treat will be more exciting for my son or for me!
Toss the following ingredients in a blender, puree, pour into molds, and freeze.
- 12 ounces of firm silken tofu (make sure it’s silken tofu made especially for desserts)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar or maple syrup
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup rice milk, coconut milk, or cows milk
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch sea salt
- 4 strawberries, washed, stemmed, dried and sliced into quarters (put these in molds and pour chocolate mix to surround berries before freezing)
Baby-sized options: If baby is too little to handle her own popsicle stick, consider using one of the products that use a tiny mesh bag. You can put frozen fruit chunks or ice in the mesh and then let her gnaw away to her heart’s content. This link shows Muchkin’s Fresh Food Feeder (which is BPA-Free according to their website), but you can usually find one of these in a local store if it’s easier than ordering online.
What are your ideas for summer treats? Please add your exotic recipes to our post!