When summer is in full swing, don’t run out to the ice cream truck! Instead of purchasing sugar-packed, store-bought frozen treats, start with this simple four-step process to create healthy ice pops in your own home. It’s an easy project with nearly endless possibilities and keeps you close to your little one. You’ll be able to find inspiration anywhere, and soon you may be coming up with custom flavors of your own.
You can use this process to also make baby-friendly ice pops! Use pureed fruits, milk and juices!
Pick your base, then stir in your favorite flavorings. Water-based drinks like tea, fruit juice and lemonade tend to freeze harder than yogurt, pudding and smoothies, so for a softer ice pop, mix them with simple syrup. Boil 1 part water with 1 part sugar (or sugar substitute) until it dissolves, transfer to a heat-proof bowl and chill until ready to use.
Pour or spoon your mix into the molds of your choice. Store-bought molds come in a variety of shapes, but wax-coated kitchen cups or clean yogurt containers work just as well. When filling your molds, leave a little room at the top to allow for expansion during freezing.
Put your ice pops in the freezer until they get slushy (about one hour), then carefully slide wooden craft sticks into their centers.
If time’s tight, try this foolproof freeze-and-go method: Fill molds, put a plastic spoon in the center of each, then lean the handle against the side. Freeze pops for four to six more hours, until frozen through.
For more flavor in every lick, try striped pops. Start with a layer of one flavor, freeze for an hour, then pour a different mix on top. Repeat until the molds are full.
To easily release your ice pops, run the bottom of the molds under warm water for a couple seconds. If you used kitchen or yogurt cups, cut a slit towards the top, then peel away the container.
Yummy Flavoring Ideas
From coffee to pudding, you can freeze just about anything! Experiment with your favorite ingredients, or try some of ours:
Lemon Yogurt: Combine plain Greek yogurt with lemon juice and zest, to taste, then sweeten with sugar or honey as desired. For added color and flavor, press whole fresh blueberries or raspberries into yogurt-filled molds.
Fruit & Cream: Bring out the kid in everyone with ice pops inspired by the classic novelty. Puree 1 pound of peeled seedless oranges or hulled strawberries, then strain into a mixing bowl. Whisk in 1/4 cup heavy cream and sugar to taste.
Tropical Delight: In a blender, puree simple syrup with pineapple, mango, kiwi, papaya or passion fruit. Up the exotic feel with a splash of coconut milk or pomegranate juice concentrate.
We love the texture that chunks of fruit give these frozen treats, but for a smoother finish, strain your puree through a fine-mesh sieve.
Sweet & Salty: Prepare boxes of chocolate and caramel pudding mix according to package directions, adding about 1 teaspoon of salt to the caramel pudding. Chill both completely, then make striped ice pops with them.