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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Summer Freezer Pops

Although children love them, freezer pops are not just for kids. These healthy alternatives to store-bought Popsicles make easy and imaginative snacks and desserts, without any undesirable additives like sweeteners, artificial flavors or colors.

Some pops also make cool breakfast items on hot summer days, especially those that contain fruit and yogurt or coconut milk.

Others, like Green Tea Pops or frozen fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, can even be served as appetizers or palate cleansers between courses.

If you don’t have freezer pop molds, get creative with small paper cups or sturdy shot glasses fitted with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and stainless steel or bamboo cocktail skewers, or wooden tooth picks. Freezing times will vary, depending on the shape and size of your molds. Before serving, dip the molds in a bowl of warm water to loosen and release them.

Green Tea Pops:

Tea pops are a healthy way to hydrate in hot weather. If you don’t have green tea - or simply favor another flavor - substitute any herbal tea. Other good choices include peppermint, rosehip, hibiscus, ginger and licorice.

2 cups brewed green tea
1 to 2 tsp honey (optional)
1 to 2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (optional)

Brew the tea slightly stronger than usual and stir in the honey. Allow it to cool to room temperature. Add the lemon juice and stir again to make sure the honey has dissolved. Pour it into freezer pop molds. Freeze until frozen.

Yield: 4 four-ounce pops

Raspberry Watermelon Pops:

Each pop contains one serving of fruit.

3 cups cubed watermelon
1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen

Puree fresh or frozen fruit and portion into freezer pop molds. Freeze until frozen.

Yield: 4 four-ounce pops

Frozen Yogurt Peach Pops:

If you don’t have peaches, substitute apricots, plums, nectarines, or fresh berries.

1 very ripe peach, finely chopped
1 1/3 cups organic plain whole milk yogurt
1 to 2 tbsp honey

Spoon the chopped peach into 4 four-ounce freezer pop molds, filling them 2/3 full, loosely packed. Whisk together the yogurt and honey until smooth. Pour the yogurt mixture over the chopped peach, filling each mold. Put the sticks in place and freeze until frozen.

Yield: 4 four-ounce pops

Coco-Banana Pops:

Banana goes so well with coconut milk, but you can substitute any fruit that is fresh, ripe and local. Use fruit that is perfectly ripe or slightly overripe, and naturally sweet.

1 ripe banana or other ripe fruit, 1 piece or ¾ cup roughly chopped
½ cup coconut milk
¼ cup water

Puree all ingredients in a blender and pour into freezer pop molds. Freeze until frozen.

Yield: 3 four-ounce pops

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