Do you love ice pops but maybe cringe when you think about the sugar or the food dye or the cost? Try making your own.
Ice pops are easy and fun to make and can be tailored to any taste or diet.
Sure, there are a lot of commercial varieties to choose from but you can easily make ice pops at home where you can control what goes into them and maybe even create a special pop that incorporates all your favorite flavors.
You can keep your recipe really simple, like a 100-percent fruit-juice pop, or try something more complex like avocados or chia seeds in an ice pop.
As far as I can tell, most things that taste good cool also taste good frozen. Making ice pops is a great way to use excess smoothie. For a fun twist try layering yogurt and juice to make a striped pop, just let each layer solidify for a bit (about a half hour) before adding the next layer.
Ice pops can be a great way to use the last of your berries or other perishable fruit; it can be pureed but look and taste great added whole, just fill your container and add yogurt or juice or a blend of the two.
You can purchase ice-pop molds that are relatively inexpensive. Molds are great because they are reusable and come in a variety of sizes and shapes to best suit your preferences.
If you do not have ice-pop molds, you can make pops in cups and use either ice-pop sticks or plastic spoons as the handle. Small cups work best, and if you use paper cups you can rip and peel the cup away once it is frozen.
Have a tray or small plate and space in your freezer so the cups can stand upright and either use pierced tin foil over the cups to hold the handles in place or wait half to one hour and stick the handle into the semi-frozen pop.
Fruit and “cream” pops: Layer vanilla yogurt and chopped mixed berries, peaches or mandarin oranges into an ice-pop mold and freeze.
Orange dairysicles: Blend orange juice with vanilla yogurt and freeze in an ice-pop mold.
Watermelon pops: Blend watermelon with a few mint leaves (optional) and freeze in ice-pop molds.
Creamy tropical pops: Blend one ripe avocado, with ¼ cup of pineapple and ¼ cup of coconut milk and freeze in ice-pop molds.
Juice pops: Any juice you like will work. Using a clear juice, like a 100-percent juice cranberry blend, you can add some flair by dropping in a few chunks of fruit, like kiwi slices or berries.
Smore’s pop: Layer chocolate pudding (or try adding chocolate syrup to yogurt), crushed graham crackers and a few mini marshmallows and freeze in ice-pop molds.
Monkey tails: Put a ice-pop stick into a ripe banana and freeze. Once frozen, dip bananas into melted chocolate and sprinkle with nuts. Return to freezer until chocolate is firm.
As you can see from the variety listed here, they do not all have to be healthy; everything is OK in moderation. But if you are making fruit and yogurt pops, there is no reason that your kids (or you) cannot have an ice pop for breakfast. Try it.
Jordy Kivett is a nutrition educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Clinton County. For more information, contact her at 561-7450.