Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sweet Summer Delights

It looks like the Pacific Northwest is beginning to embrace the concept of summer a little bit (knock on wood), and I say we had all better take advantage of the glorious sunshine while we can! But in what way should we express our appreciation of this generous dose of Vitamin D? Carla Emery suggests homemade popsicles for a refreshing treat on a warm day—a favorite for both the young and old!

Homemade popsicles are great because they are “cheap, easy, and even more fun for the children than going to the store. Children like strong, sweet juices like grape and cranberry for popsicles—but when kids are hot anything will do,” even popsicles made from puddings or soda pop! You can buy do-it-yourself popsicle molds from Tupperware and Back to Basics (I actually have a small one from Target, and I’ve been using it all summer, even on the cooler days) or you can make your own from regular household items. Use small sturdy bowls or cans for containers—or even the ice cube tray in your freezer—and wooden sticks or toothpicks for handles.

Using whatever popsicle-making container you prefer, pour your favorite juice into the molds without filling completely, insert your handle, and freeze. (Extra tip: if your containers and handles are makeshift rather than store-bought, you might have trouble keeping your handles completely upright. If you allow your liquid to freeze partially before you insert your handle, you’ll have a more solid consistency to hold the handle up straight.) Obviously, freezing time will vary quite a bit depending on the size and shape of your molds and the temperature of your freezer, but don’t pull on the handles “until you’re sure the center of the popsicle is solidly frozen and you have loosened the sides by running hot water over the back of the mold. Otherwise they might pull out of the container prematurely, leaving a hole that it won’t freeze back into. You don’t have to unmold all the popsicles at once. Just loosen as many as you need. Refill the emptied units and return to the freezer.”

You can use any kind of fruit juice you like for your homemade popsicles (lemonade works great and is particularly refreshing on a warm day), but of course Carla Emery has a couple of recipes working from scratch.

Basic Fruit Popsicles

Puree 1 c. any kind of fruit or a mixture of fruit, and mix with 1 c. water. Pour into your ice cube tray. When they are starting to freeze, add a wooden stick or toothpick to each section.

Pudding Popsicles

Susan Staley was in Germany when she sent me this recipe. She said, “If your children love the Fudgsicle-type popsicle, you can easily make them. Just make up a batch of pudding and freeze it in your popsicle molds. They’re delicious and you can make different kinds besides chocolate. Butterscotch is very good. In fact, any flavor of pudding your children love hot, they’re bound to like cold in hot summer weather.”

Any Fruit Ice

You could juice pomegranates or barberries or red currants, or cook and strain quinces, or grate pineapple, or boil and pulp apples or rhubarb — whatever you have. Sweeten to taste, add lemon juice if the flavor needs it, and freeze.

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