July 1, 2022

Homemade Popsicles :)

Dan and I love dessert. We grew up in different parts of the country, but both of our families considered dessert to be part of a proper meal. So, for years, I made and served dessert after our evening meal. I cut back on the sugar and fat in most recipes, so that was good, but eventually we felt that we were still eating too much sugar anyway. So dessert became a treat for the weekend. 

Last winter, I found popsicle molds when I was out Christmas shopping. I bought two and recently started to experiment. I found that I can make a no- to low-sugar dessert that wonderfully finishes out a summer meal. 

Pureed peach popsicle from canned peaches.

These can be as simple as one ingredient, or a combination of flavors. Making them is easy too, just smash or puree a favorite fruit, sweeten if desired, pour into the mold, add the stick, and freeze.

An actual recipe isn't necessary. It's a matter of amount and consistency. My molds hold 1/3 cup per popsicle, so for the tray of four, I need 1⅓ cups ingredients that can be poured into the mold. Possibilities:
  • fruit juice (including concentrates)
  • pureed fruit (fresh, frozen, or canned)
  • peanut butter (needs thinning - see below)
  • for creamsicles: mix fruit juice with yogurt, cream, cream cheese, ricotta cheese, kefir, or chevre
  • to thin if needed: cream, milk, juice
  • optional crunchies: chocolate chips, puffed rice, chopped nuts, granola, coconut flakes, crushed cookies or graham crackers, etc.
  • sweetening optional: maple syrup, chocolate sauce

Here are some of my experiments:

Banana peanut butter. (Dan's favorite).
It was thick, so I thinned it with cream.

Orange creamsicle: orange juice concentrate and ricotta cheese

Blueberry and peach (puree from frozen and canned fruit)

Peanut butter chocolate chip (I thinned the BP with cream & used mini-chips)

Grape creamsicle: grape juice concentrate and ricotta cheese

Chocolate banana: ripe banana & unsweetened cocoa powder

Banana, orange creamsicle, and peanut butter layered

Tutti Frutti - pureed fruit cocktail (the 100% juice kind)

Strawberry, banana, and blueberry layered

Recipe Notes:
  • Ripe bananas (with dark spots) are much sweeter than green or unspotted yellow bananas.
  • The chocolate banana popsicles required no extra sweetening, even with unsweetened cocoa powder added, because of the sweetness of the ripe bananas.
  • For a fruity power punch flavor, fruit juice concentrate can be used. For popsicles, we like it diluted at 2:1 (instead of the recommended 3:1). 
  • Pureed fruits can sometimes be a bit bland when frozen, because of ice (water) crystals. Sweetening can help, as can a tablespoon or so of undiluted fruit juice concentrate.
  • The possibilities are endless. You're only limited by your imagination!

Experimenting with flavors has been a lot of fun. So far they've all been good! For my next batch, I'm going to try a PB&J flavor, using grape juice concentrate to thin the peanut butter. 

I don't know why I didn't think about making these sooner. I guess it's because, when I think of popsicles, I usually think of the artificially flavored high fructose corn syrup type they sell at the store. But they are easy to make and can be as low sugar and healthy as I want. They satisfy the dessert habit, and make for a refreshing, hydrating treat after getting hot and sweaty outside. Another good way to beat the heat!


kathyinozarks said...

Good morning Oh Yum! I have some popsicle molds too I need to get those out and experiment. You have made many yummy looking variations-thanks for the tips
we have to really watch the sugar here, the last few years I have been playing around with some of the keto sweeteners for a few desserts-but those are pretty expensive. I did find a good keto churned ice cream that we like. and we have really cut back on desserts too-I remember growing up we always had a dessert too after the main meal.
Happy Friday and weekend hugs

Haddock said...

After looking at all the pictures, I think I will go for the Banana, orange creamsicle.

Leigh said...

Kathy, what I really like about these is that they still satisfy like dessert, but with much, much less sugar. The chocolate banana was a happy success, because we both like chocolate, but unsweetened cocoa powder really needs something. The ripe banana filled the bill. :)

Haddock, good choice!

daisy g said...

What an array of flavors! I have given up processed sugar and found it to be easier than I first thought it would be. I still enjoy sweets using dates, maple syrup or overripe bananas as sweeteners. Works like a charm and no guilt!

Enjoy your fun summer treats!

Tom said...

...this sure is popsicle weather!

Cederq said...

All those look yummy! and what is nice, all don't have the chemicals and additives besides the copious amounts of sugar and salts companies add to food stuffs. I am moving back to Alabama and becoming your pestering, obnoxious neighbor food tester...

Jenn Jilks said...

What a great idea!
I don't serve dessert unless the kids are here!\
(ツ) from Jenn Jilks , ON, Canada!

Annie in Ocala said...

Yum! Those are beautiful! I get like 200-300+ persimmons off my Japanese persimmon. And they are 4-8oz a piece... I just pick em an freeze but tend to get burned out after eating them in the various easy ways... I feed em to the chickens and goats.
This looks like another easy way to enjoy their beautiful sweetness!!! Thanks again!

Leigh said...

Daisy, I like dates for sweetening too. Have to think how to use them in popsicles though!

Kevin, there are a lot of food I no longer buy because of the chemicals and overly processed ingredients. It's nice to come up with healthy alternatives. :)

Annie, persimmons would make wonderful popsicles! I have only one Japanese persimmon, and so far, it's produced very little. Maybe this year!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

These bring back such happy memories, both of making them at home myself growing up as well as doing it with Na Clann. Thank you for the happy memories!

DFW said...

This conjured up an old childhood memory. My Grandmother made homemade popsicles with a tupperware mold which were a bit skinnier than yours. I think it made six & if memory serves me she had two so she made twelve at a time. Don't remember the flavors but I know they were from whatever fruit she had previously canned or froze.

Leigh said...

TB, what a nice memory, especially making them with your children. Things like that are so important.

Deb, I think I remember those tupperware molds! Such a good way to get kids to eat fruit.

Leigh said...

I just found two lovely comments in spam! I can't figure out how they get there.

Tom, it is indeed. They really make a great summer treat.

Jenn, well, kids love dessert. :) I do too, but it's one of those habits I'm better off without.

Fundy Blue said...

These look yummy, Leigh, and I'm sure they are much healthier than commercial products.