I went to the supermarket the other day to stock up on frozen juice snacks to stave off the heat for a short while.
Trouble is, I made the mistake of reading the ingredient label on the various options before not buying. High fructose corn syrup, sugar and artificial sweeteners were in each, sometimes in multiple combinations thereof. Not what I want to consume to battle heat fatigue, especially since excess sugar only makes you hotter in the long run.
So, I decided to make my own fruit pops. It’s a simple enough process, and it’s less costly than some designer ices.
You can use your own molds, like the new Ice Pop molds at Central Market that come with their own stand, or you can use paper cups.
All I did was place some chunks of fresh watermelon in the food processor, squeeze fresh lime juice over the top and added a few drops of agave nectar. Once it was processed, I poured the mixture into cups and set them in the freezer for 20 minutes while they began to set. Then I inserted straws (I didn’t have sticks, though spoons or sturdy coffee stirs would also work), covered the cups with plastic wrap and let them freeze.
When it was time to eat, I peeled off the paper cup and had something cool and refreshing for a mid-afternoon snack.
The combination of flavors can be whatever you have on hand. Think orange juice and strawberries. Mango and kiwi. Peaches and banana. Canned pineapple and peaches in syrup. And most anything with lime, from cantaloupe to cherries to peeled cucumber.
Sounds like a frozen version of smoothie? It is, in a way. And you can add other items you like in smoothies, from yogurt (click here for a recipe) to ground almonds or shredded coconut.
Use the food processor or blender instead of the juicer for all of your fruit but citrus, if you want retain the fiber.
Why include agave nectar? It, too, is a sweetener but it doesn’t affect most people’s glycemic index the way sugar does. Honey is another natural option, so is a syrup of your own making, which allows you control of how much you can add. Regardless of what you use, a sweetener is important because of the flavor of your fruit pop. Freezing causes the natural flavors of a food to contract, while the sweetener helps them stay closer to the surface. In other words, you’d have to let your unsweetened fruit thaw before you tasted much of anything from it; and that just seems to defeat the whole purpose, doesn’t it?