Remember summer? Not the grown up kind, but those wonder years as a kid when you spent every waking hour outside basking in the humid extended daylight, pushing yourself to exhaustive collapse day after day. Playing is hard work and chances are cooling off with those Technicolor "fruit flavored" popsicles was an integral part of your summer vacation.
If your parents were anything like mine, they perceived the grape, cherry and orange frozen glo-sticks as a healthy alternative to the ice cream cones and sandwiches pimped to us by a weird guy in a noisy truck. Whether the traditional Popsicles on sticks, or those funky ones in plastic tubes that would make the edges of our mouths sore, we were on a steady diet of frozen fruit treats from June to August. While lower in fat than ice cream, fruit juice based frozen desserts can contain ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors and preservatives including Polysorbate 80 — a known allergen.
Still, nothing can compare with the light juiciness of a good summer Popsicle treat. Sometimes, my mom would freeze orange juice (with toothpick handles) in the ice cube trays when we had run out of the other kind. They were just as good, even if the shape was a little cumbersome. Making your own frozen fruit treats can be that simple. With a Popsicle mold, it's even easier. You can also liven up the Popsicle with exotic fruits, herbs, even veggies. (While a Wheatgrass Popsicle may turn your inner child's stomach, you know your inner health freak is kinda curious.)
LA's own Popcycle brings their funky flavors all around the city (powered by bike, of course). Take some inspiration from their creative concoctions including Spicy Peach Ginger, Lemon Mint Blueberry, Salty Cucumber Lime and Coconut Milk Chocolate or mash up your own favorite flavors. You can even add vitamin C powder, ginseng extract or spirulina for an extra healthy kick. Vitamin C will make anything taste tart as well as boost your immunity. Ginseng is a great natural energy enhancer and spirulina is full of protein and green goodness for getting that ever important Popsice tongue. Consider it a flavor favor for your inner child... now if you can just figure out how to get that Hoola Hoop to stay up before Labor Day.
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Photo courtesy of Auntie K