I have a vivid memory of running through the sprinkler with my sister on a hot summer day, only to hear the distant melody of an ice cream truck. No sound was more thrilling or inspired such speed. The mere thought of chasing down the truck is enough to make even my adult mouth water.
Sadly, the ice cream truck didn’t drive through our neighborhood often enough, so we improvised by making our own popsicles with a variety of juices and fruit. We’d even freeze plain old orange juice for a homemade version of Italian ice. Truth be told, frozen orange juice cups can frequently be found in our current freezer.
When my kids have friends over, there is hardly a more welcome grab-and-go snack than a refreshing popsicle. With its bright fruity flavor, the following option has scored high marks. As a parent, I appreciate this snack for its short ingredient list and hidden health benefits. Nowadays, we are so often reminded that Americans eat too much sugar, and these frosty treats earn bonus points for their lack of refined sugar.
Of course, we don’t typically think of popsicles for breakfast, but what kid wouldn’t be thrilled? And why not? With a hearty dose of fruit, calcium and protein, these cool pops are basically a smoothie on a stick. In fact, we’ve come up short on the final yield having snacked on the creamy mixture before it found its way to the molds!
With the use of a blender these healthy treats are simple to make, and they’re quite versatile, too. Almost any fresh or frozen fruit will work, and mixing and matching the fruit will allow for endless flavor options. Most recently, I used all cherries and vanilla yogurt with delicious results.
Yields 8 servings.
- 2 cups fresh or frozen sweet cherries (pitted), blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and/or sliced bananas
- 2 cups vanilla yogurt (I use Stonyfield's 2% Smooth & Creamy French Vanilla)
- Optional: 1 tablespoon honey (or to taste)
- Place the fruit and yogurt in a blender. Cover and blend until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender once or twice as needed. (If you prefer some chunks of fruit in your popsicles, you may stop blending at the desired consistency.)
- Taste the mixture and add honey as desired.
- Pour the mixture into popsicle molds. If you don't have molds or the mixture exceeds what your molds will hold, small paper cups and wooden craft sticks work well. To keep the sticks upright, secure a piece of aluminum foil over the top of each cup and poke the stick through the center. You can also set a timer for 60 to 90 minutes and poke the sticks into the partially frozen popsicles at that time.
- Place the molds or cups in the freezer for at least 6-8 hours. Overnight freezing, however, will make the popsicles easier to remove from standard molds. Run molds under warm water (or briefly dip them in a cup of warm water) to loosen the popsicles. If using paper cups, simply tear the cup away from the popsicle.
- Popsicle molds can be found online or seasonally in many kitchen and dollar stores.