Maybe you don’t have spare change (or you don’t want appetites ruined before suppertime). And, if you see the delightful ice pop molds and makers available, you probably will be hooked on homemade. Making your own saves money, is healthier and can be a fun activity for the family.
“One of the reasons I chose pops is because they’re a fun kids treat,” says Krystina Castella, author of “Pops!: Icy Treats for Everyone” (Quirk Books, $15.95). “With the cupcake trend coming back in adult fashion, I thought Popsicles were also playful for ‘kidults’—people who want to stay younger longer.”
Castella, a professor of industrial engineering at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., creates masterful pops—globe-shaped, multilayered or translucent with suspended fruit. She has even made molds from items found around her home.
“You have the creative element and the health advantage,” says Castella, who prefers her homemade concoctions to store-bought alternatives.
For the adult crowd, her book features cocktail pops.
Molds are available in most home goods stores and with a little guidance, they are as easy as … wait, actually much easier than pie. For simple juice pops, just add a fruity liquid or two and freeze.
“It’s a quick and easy snack,” says Function Junction store manager Martin Leon, who likes the Cuisipro Sailboat Pop Molds. “You just throw juice in, and they’ll last quite a while.”
Leon also is a fan of the Zoku Quick Pop Maker, which does not require electricity. Although more expensive than freeze-and-wait alternatives and the machine has to be in the freezer for 24 hours before use, it makes ice pops in 7 minutes.
Bonus: It can be a source of entertainment at a dinner party.
“You can have your guests make their own,” Leon said. Guests can create layers and incorporate fruit cutouts into the mold for a colorful effect.
Instead of making calorically dooming pops, find recipes with natural fruit or vegetable juices (try a cucumber-lemonade combo). To sweeten the deal, add honey or Greek yogurt, which make for creamier, smoother textures than regular vanilla yogurt. Health enthusiasts can add protein powders or chia seeds.
Buying individually packaged ice pops produces more waste than reusing a set of molds. And those wooden sticks are plenty cute for your kids to craft with, but opt for molds that come with reusable plastic sticks. Look for plastics that say BPA-free or have plastic numbers 2, 4 or 5.
—Leave a half inch at the top of the mold to allow for expansion during freezing.
—”Pops!” author Krystina Castella recommends taking the molds out of the freezer 5 minutes ahead of time or until you can gently remove the ice pops. Or run molds under room-temperature water for a few seconds.
—Your best bet is to make them on-site, in advance. Allow four to 5 hours before dessert time.
Honeydew Melon Pops
Perfectly ripe honeydew melons are extraordinarily juicy and sweet. They are rich in vitamin C and potassium, too. Layer the honeydew mixture with watermelon and cantaloupe variations for beautiful tri-colored pastel pops.
4 cups diced (6 1/2 -inch cubes) ripe honeydew melon
1/3 cup plain yogurt
Juice of 3 limes
Grated zest of 1 lime
3 teaspoons honey
Combine 2 cups of melon, the yogurt and lime juice and zest in a food processor or blender; process until smooth. Add the honey; process again to combine. Stir in the remaining 2 cups melon.
Fill the pop molds with the mixture. Freeze for at least 6 hours.
Remove from the freezer. Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before removing the pops from the molds.
(c) 2011, The Kansas City Star.