Pop Into Summer with these homemade ice pops

06 Jul 2019

Nothing says summer like refreshing, homemade ice pops. Try these garden-inspired, kitchen-tested recipes for kids and adults.

by Izzy Wrigley and Karen Sperry

Before You Begin

Photo by Rimma Bondarenko
While reusable molds are a modest investment that guarantee a beautiful final result, there are many options for freezing ice pops. Ice cube trays, paper or plastic cups, even small yogurt containers. Leave ¼ inch of space at the top of each mold for the liquid to expand as it freezes (a bit more if you’ve used a bubbly liquid in your mix). If your molds don’t have a slot for sticks, freeze your mixture for an hour or two (depending on how large the molds are), then insert the sticks. Or cover the molds with foil and insert the stick through the foil to keep it in place. Ice pops that contain alcohol take a little longer to freeze than the nonalcoholic ones.

Merry-Berry Ice Pops

Photo by Handmade Pictures
INGREDIENTS ¼ cup water 2 sprigs fresh rosemary ¼ cup sugar 3 cups raspberries and strawberries ¼ cup gin (optional) DIRECTIONS 1. Make rosemary simple syrup by bringing water and rosemary to a boil over medium heat. Stir in sugar until it dissolves and remove syrup from heat. Let syrup steep for 1 hour, then remove the rosemary. 2. Purée fruit in a blender and add it to the cooled syrup. 3. Add gin (optional). 4. Pour into molds. Freeze 3 to 4 hours, or overnight if using gin.

Tutti-Frutti Spritz Pops

Photo by Yingko
INGREDIENTS 2 fresh or thawed frozen peaches, peeled and sliced 2 kiwis, peeled and sliced 1 cup strawberries, sliced ½ cup raspberries, whole ½ cup blackberries, whole ½ cup blueberries, whole ¼ cup club soda ½ cup apple juice ½ cup Aperol (optional) ½ cup Prosecco (optional) (For nonalcoholic ice pops, increase the amount of club soda to ¾ cup and apple juice to 1½ cups) DIRECTIONS 1. Fill each mold with fruit, starting with the larger pieces and using the smaller berries to fill in the gaps. 2. Combine liquid ingredients. 3. Pour liquid into the molds, leaving ¾ inches of space at the top of each mold (bubbly drinks expand more than noncarbonated liquids).

Mojo Mojito Paletas de Hielo

Photo by Colnihko
The mint leaves will float to the top of the molds. They look beautiful as a dark-green base, but if you want to distribute them throughout the pop, stir them in after an hour or so in the freezer. INGREDIENTS ¼ cup sugar 2½ cups water, divided into ½ and 2 cups ¼ cup chopped mint leaves ½ cup fresh lime juice (3-4 limes) ¼ cup white rum (optional) DIRECTIONS 1. Make simple syrup by heating ¼ cup sugar with ½ cup water until the sugar dissolves. Remove syrup from heat. 2. Add 2 cups cold water to the syrup. 3. Stir in chopped mint leaves and lime juice. 4. Add rum (optional). 5. Pour mixture into molds and freeze 3 to 4 hours, or overnight if using rum.

One-In-a-Melon Pops

Photo by Elena Veselova
INGREDIENTS 2 pounds seedless watermelon, cubed ¼ cup fresh lime juice (approximately 2 small limes) 15 mint leaves, chopped ¼ cup Cointreau or other orange liqueur (optional) DIRECTIONS 1. Place all ingredients in a blender and purée. 2. Pour puréed mixture into molds and freeze 3 to 4 hours, or overnight if using liqueur.

Luscious Lavender Ice Pops

Photo by Suzana Marinkovic
INGREDIENTS ½ cup water 2 tablespoons fresh lavender ½ cup sugar 12 ounces fresh blackberries, roughly chopped 1 lemon, juiced 2 tablespoons honey 1½ cups plain Greek yogurt DIRECTIONS 1. Make lavender simple syrup by bringing water and lavender to a boil over medium heat. Stir in sugar until it dissolves. Remove syrup from heat and let steep for 1 hour. Pour the syrup through a strainer to remove the lavender and reserve the syrup. Set aside. 2. Combine the blackberries and lemon juice. Add honey, stir to combine and purée the mixture in a blender, including the juices, leaving berry chunks to your preference. 3. After syrup completely cools, whisk yogurt into the syrup. 4. Layer berry mixture and yogurt mixture into each mold, leaving ¼ inch of space at the top. Use a butter knife or skewer to lightly mix the layers together. 5. Freeze at least 3 to 4 hours.

Dreamy-Creamy Lemon Pops

Photo by jenifoto
INGREDIENTS 1 cup plain Greek yogurt ½ lemon, juiced and zested ½ teaspoon lemon zest 1 tablespoon milk 2 tablespoons honey or agave 1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, chopped 1/8 cup limoncello (optional) DIRECTIONS 1. Stir together all ingredients. 2. Sample your mixture and add more sweetener or lemon juice, to taste. 3. Pour mixture into molds. 4. Freeze 3 to 4 hours, or overnight if using limoncello.

Cucumber-Lemon Spa Pops

Photo by Ekaterina SU
This is a frozen take on refreshing lemon-cucumber water. The cucumbers will float to the top of the mold, but if you want to distribute them throughout the ice pop, stir them in after an hour or so in the freezer. INGREDIENTS 2 lemons ¼ cup honey 2 cups water ½ Persian (mini) cucumber, thinly sliced DIRECTIONS 1. Quarter the lemons, removing the seeds, pith and peel. Put the flesh in a blender and add honey and water. 2. Purée the mixture on high. 3. Add as many cucumber slices as you’d like to the molds, then pour the puréed mixture into the molds. 4. Freeze 3 to 4 hours.

Icy Experiments

Photo by Zahra22
As your garden starts to produce this summer, try experimenting with different icy treats: • Try different flavor combinations: lemonade pops with lemon thyme; basil and cantaloupe; honeydew and mint; strawberry, beet, and lemon; carrot, pineapple and ginger—the sky’s the limit! • Any garden herb—thyme, lavender, rosemary, mint, dill, etc.—can be infused in a simple syrup to add subtle flavor. • Adding creaminess to your ice pop is another flavorful touch: yogurt, coconut milk and whipping cream all work well. • Layer two flavors that go well together. Pictured above: our Luscious Lavender Ice Pop combined with our Dreamy-Creamy Lemon Pop. The key to an ice pop with a nice, soft bite (as opposed to the hardness of a solid ice cube) is the amount of fruit, sweetener and alcohol in the mixture. Just be careful of adding too much alcohol, or the pops won’t freeze. Sample the liquid before freezing, and make adjustments if needed.  
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