This season, whip up your own homemade popsicles in fruity flavors that you and your kids will love. (Bonus: these popsicle ideas have no added sugar or coloring.) The beauty of popsicles you make yourself is that there is plenty of room for experimentation: From sweet to tangy and pink to purple, there’s sure to be a variation everyone will love. Start with these tips.
Summer is the perfect time to see what looks best at the farmer’s market, and turn it into a frozen treat. Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries are all fantastic in popsicles, as are stone fruits like cherries and peaches. (And don’t forget fruits like watermelon, mango, lemon and lime!)
Stems, pits, and tough skins are no good for your popsicles. Tools like a strawberry huller, mango slicer and multi cherry pitter can quickly extract the fresh fruit and discard the rest, while saving your fingers from any slippery fruit-slicing mishaps. Even better, these kid-friendly gadgets allow little ones to help with the process. When you’re ready to puree, a food mill, processor or blender makes quick work of the fruit so it’s ready for your popsicle recipe.
Experiment With Flavor
You don’t have to stick with a single flavor—mix fruits together for fun and original combos. A few to try:
- Strawberry + mango
- Lemon + blackberry
- Cherry + lime
- Peach + raspberry
- Blueberry + banana
Or you can puree the fruits separately and create a rainbow effect by layering one puree on top of another. Start with strawberry puree, filling the bottom of your popsicle cup (about an inch). Allow it to freeze slightly in the cup. Then add the same amount of orange puree and allow that to harden as well in the freezer. Follow suit with pineapple, kiwi, blueberry and blackberry puree.
Add the Extras
While fruit puree on its own makes a great (and healthy) popsicle, swirling in plain or vanilla Greek yogurt adds a decadent touch. Or layer in chunks of fruit, a few teaspoons of mini chocolate chips and even a touch of granola. For grownup popsicles, herbs like basil, mint or rosemary make great additions. Try pureeing a few cups of strawberries with a tablespoon of fresh mint for a refreshing summer treat.
Sweeten to Taste
In some cases, your fruit puree may need a sprinkling of sweetness to balance out the tartness of the berries. Try adding a quarter cup of apple juice per cup of fruit puree or mix in a few tablespoons of honey to get the balance right.
Pick Your Popsicle Vessel
Popsicle molds are helpful but not necessary. You can do the old paper cup and wooden stick trick (if you go this route, wait to insert the stick into the popsicle until the puree has become mushy or slightly frozen, otherwise the stick won’t stay vertical). Or use freezer-friendly containers like baby blocks with a stick or reusable straw as the handle. Even a muffin tin or silicone cupcake liners can be great for making homemade popsicles and ice cube trays work well for mini popsicles.
Give It Time
Your popsicles will need about eight hours to freeze. Once they’re frozen, they can last a couple of months in your freezer. When it’s time to eat them, give the stick a gentle tug to see if the block of frozen fruit easily frees itself from its container. If it’s stuck, quickly run warm water around the exterior of the container (or submerge the vessel quickly in a bowl of warm water, being careful to not wet the top part with the stick). In the case of paper cups, simply peel and enjoy.
Now that you’ve mastered the art of fresh fruit popsicles, how about something a little more decadent? These homemade frozen yogurt cups will cool you off while satisfying that ice cream craving. Plus, try this simple frosé recipe for a grownup treat, delicious frozen coffee desserts, and more fun party dessert ideas.