Five Tips for Healthy, Homemade Ice Pops
Ice Pops are a staple summertime treat. What’s better is they are easier to make than ice cream but just as refreshing. Ice pops, or paletas, are essentially summer on a stick, with less guilt. These treats are usually made with either a water-base or milk-base, but always flavored with fresh fruit. Here are five great tips to upgrade your (healthy) ice pop game:
1. Try It with Veggies
We know it may sound crazy but you can use vegetable juice in your ice pops. Choose the right veggies that are inherently sweet, perhaps beets or carrots. Strain out any pulp or tough fibers and layer in some fruit juice if you’d prefer something a bit more traditional. The best part? Your kids won’t suspect a thing!
Bonus: Try infusing seasonal herbs into your juice mix. How does a lemon-thyme ice pop sound?
2. Add some Texture
Add some semi-puréed fresh fruit, sliced dried fruit, or even some roasted nuts to give your pops to add a little texture. Maybe even use vegetables that taste great cooked, ripe, or raw (cucumbers, perhaps?). Use your blender to get the ideal texture.
3. Mind your Sugar
The sugar and flavor content from seasonal, ripe fruit should be enough. But if you want to add a bit more then choosing the right sweetener can add some complexity into your ice pops. For instance, raw sugar can give a nutty, golden, roasty flavor whereas maple syrup, although it does add a bit of grittiness, can give a hint of roasted, woodsy, vanilla taste. Just make sure to taste the juice mixture before adding because the fruits (or veggies)’ natural sweetness should be enough.
4. Spice it Up
Add a hint of ancho chili powder into your citrus-based ice pop next time. Not only does it add a real kick of flavor, the chili powder also builds immunity! Chili powder contains vitamin C and the capsaicin prompts a release of feel-good endorphins.
5. Think Outside the Box
The fun thing about ice pops and paletas is that you can create hundreds of variations using local or exotic fruit, or (as we discussed) veggies, too! If that’s not enough, why not try a rice pudding ice paleta? Rice pudding is one of the hundreds of flavors of paleta you can get in Mexico. Try adding in some fresh nectarines or apricots for a fresh, summer spin.
Now that you’ve read up on what you could do. Go make one! Here’s one of our personal favorites: Cucumber and Lime Paletas. Easy and refreshing, these make for perfect poolside company.
Cucumber and Lime Paletas
- 1 large cucumber, peeled
- 1 cup simple syrup
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp peeled ginger, finely grated
- Purée cucumber with simply syrup, lime juice, and ginger until smooth
- Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and into a large measuring cup
- Divide among molds, insert sticks and freeze until solid for at least 6 hours