There are many reasons why making popsicles is a lot more fun than buying them. One, you can use whatever ingredients you have handy, meaning extra summer fruit from the farmer’s market or backyard, like berries, watermelons, or peaches, needn’t go to waste. Two, you can make them organic, additive-free, and healthy yet tasty, while spending a lot less. Third, you can spike them with booze, something you’re not likely to find in a store. Not for the kids of course, but for a patio party or a barbecue, a popsicle with a little kick can’t be beat.
You might have to experiment with various molds, as quality and ease of use certainly do vary, but most houseware and kitchen outlets stock them. Or just freeze the liquid in ice-cube trays or paper cups and insert a toothpick.
Most of the fruit in the following recipes is in season during the summer, and the fresher the fruit, the better the pop.
Peaches n’ Cream
Two ripe peaches or nectarines, peeled and sliced
1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup milk
Put all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until just mixed. Pour into molds and freeze for about two hours. Insert sticks and freeze overnight or until firm.
You can use any berries in this pop; cherries, blueberries, and gooseberries all work well. Carrot juice also makes for a natural sweetener that adds a creamy texture.
Handful of strawberries
Handful of raspberries
Handful of blackberries
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Splash of carrot juice or water
Sugar, if desired, to taste
Blend berries with lemon juice and carrot juice or water until well mixed, about a minute. Blend in sugar, if using. Pour into molds and freeze for about three hours then insert popsicle sticks. Freeze overnight.
A large watermelon, with its high water content, can make a slew of popsicles. You can simply blend up watermelon and freeze in molds, or add a bit of sugar, lime, and mint to add a refreshing twist. Honeydew, cantaloupe, or musk melon, or a mixture of all three, work great too.
1 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
1 to 2 cups vanilla soy milk
Squeeze oranges, making sure to remove seeds. Mix with soy milk, adding more to taste. Pour into popsicles molds and freeze; add sticks after a few hours and continue to freeze until solid.
Pomegranate Citrus Tri-Color Pops
1 cup pomegranate juice (you can also use cranberry)
1 cup freshly-squeezed orange, mandarin, or tangerine juice, or a combination of all three
1 cup lemon juice
Make simple syrup by heating 2/3 cup sugar in 1/3 cup water until sugar is dissolved, making sure liquid doesn’t burn. Let cool.
Pour pomegranate juice into popsicle molds, filling up 1/3 of the way. Freeze for about an hour. After they have frozen, fill up another 1/3 of the way with orange juice and freeze for an hour again. Insert popsicle sticks with a couple inches sticking out. Add simple syrup to lemon juice and adjust to taste. (You may also want to add the simple syrup to the orange juice if it’s really tart.) Fill molds all the way with the lemon juice and freeze again for a couple of hours. Voila—three different colored layers!
Popsicles for the Over-Twenty-One Set
I like the idea of serving these as an after dinner summertime treat, as a simple dessert or a digestive. They’re also perfect for a barbecue, when eating something cold, sweet, and a little bit alcoholic is perfectly acceptable at any time.
Opened a bottle of bubbly and didn’t finish it? This is a great way to use the remnants.
1/2 cup (or so) raspberries
Sparkling wine or champagne, however much you have on hand.
Pulse raspberries in a blender and stir in champagne. Pour in molds and freeze for an hour; insert sticks and freeze another hour or two.
3/4 cup Grand Marnier
Two peaches, sliced
Two apricots, sliced and pitted
1 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Blend peaches, apricots, and citrus juice together in a blender until well combined. Remove from blender and mix in Grand Mariner and zest. Sweeten to taste if desired and freeze.
About one cup young coconut milk (the watery juice from green coconuts)
2/3 cup dark rum
1/4 lime juice
Carefully hack open top of young coconut and drain juice into large bowl. Add rum and lime juice and combine well. Taste to see if it needs addition of a sweetener, like honey. Pour into popsicle molds, freeze for about four hours, and add sticks. Freeze overnight.
1-1/2 cups cranberry juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1 cup vodka
1/2 cup Cointreau
Mix all ingredients together and pour into molds. Freeze for about four hours, insert popsicles sticks, and freeze overnight.
Nut and Berry Creamsicle
1/2 cup Frangelico, a hazelnut-flavored liqueur
1/2 cup Bing cherries
1/4 cup pistachios
1 cup frozen yogurt or vanilla ice cream
Remove yogurt or ice cream from freezer. Halve and pit cherries. Coarsely chop pistachios. Measure ice cream in blender and pour in Frangelico. Blend until just mixed. Toss in cherries and nuts and pulse quickly. Pour into popsicle molds and insert sticks. Freeze overnight.
Updated June 23, 2010