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In last week’s post on refreshing activities to do with kids inside the house in the summer, part of the Beating the Summer Heat series, I mentioned that I had another fun activity to do with kids. But even more fun is when you EAT it with kids. I’m talking about no-guilt, ice cold, healthy popsicles made to order right at home!
These are one of our absolute favorite things to do in the summer because you can get super creative with what you make them with, even mixing up ingredients for really unique flavors and textures. And the great thing is that, unlike store-bought popsicles, which are filled with artificial colors and flavors, not to mention way too much sugar, you know exactly what goes inside your pops, so they can be just as healthy as you want!
If you have any experience with homemade popsicles, you are probably wondering what I can fill a whole blog post about about them. Well, I actually am going to fill up TWO whole blog posts with the different ways we make popsicles! In this first one, I’m going to show you different types of popsicle molds, including a non-plastic version, and give you some ideas on popsicle ingredients. In the next post, I’ll show three more fancy varieties that I like to make. So, want to make some healthy DIY popsicles? Let’s get started!
Most popsicle molds look like the one above (I have some vintage and less-vintage Tupperware ones). You pour the ingredients inside the plastic “cup,” which stands up inside a plastic base. A little plastic stick fits through a hole in a plastic cap, which is then snapped on top. Put the whole thing inside the freezer then, when it’s frozen run warm water over the plastic mold to loosen it and get the popsicle out.
Another version are these interlocking plastic molds. The sides slip one into another so that they can stand up, which means that you can’t freeze just one at a time, or else it will fall over and the filling can leak out.
I’d wanted to find popsicle molds without plastic for a long time, and just a few weeks ago I found out that Life Without Plastic* has a stainless steel popsicle mold system, called Freezy Cup*. Yah! The cup and cap are stainless steel, the stick reusable bamboo and the gasket (to hold the stick in place) silicone. You can choose between a wooden or a stainless steel stand.
I love the products at Life Without Plastic (I’ve gotten LunchBots* and Klean Kanteen* from them, too) and I love not having to worry about chemicals leaching out of plastic molds, but I’ll admit that there were a few design issues with the Freezy Cup system. First of all, the holes in the stainless steel stand didn’t take into consideration that the cup is tapered, because they are the same size on the top and bottom. The cup, therefore, doesn’t slide all the way down in the stand, making it too high to fit into my freezer drawer (top picture). My solution was to flip the stand upside-down (bottom picture) to at least bring the cups a little lower, so as to fit inside the freezer.
Another problem was the mold lid. It is slightly lowered around the edges, however in my opinion it should be a much more drastic edge first of all because it moved around a lot when putting the molds into the freezer because there was nothing to keep them in place. When eating the popsicle, the lid serves as a saucer to catch drips from the popsicle (as seen above), which is great. Unfortunately, though, the lack of a good lid edge meant that the melted juice would fall right over the edge, all over my kids. Meaning a sticky mess. Yuck.
A plus about the Freezy Cup is the mold’s flat bottom. This means that you can stand it on the table and, when the child wants to take a break eating the popsicle, he can put it inside the cup, which will contain all the mess. If the child totally forgets to go back to eating the popsicle and it melts, he can at least drink the juice right out of the cup. After finding a few melted surprises like what you see above, you’d better believe that I appreciate this feature!
Now let’s talk about popsicle ingredients. The classic choice is juice, but you can really get creative. When I was little, my siblings and I loved milk popsicles. My sister was a big fan of mixing milk and orange juice to make orange creamsicles (although I don’t do that now because my doctors have suggested I avoid mixing dairy with citrus).
Use yogurt for super creamy yogurtsicles (my kids’ favorite), or lemonade for tart and refreshing popsicles. You can even make any type of smoothie or homemade juice for a super healthy popsicle. Your imagination’s the limit! I once tried making iced tea popsicles (above), but I’ll admit that I didn’t like them very much.
Oh yes, me! Because these are not only for kids, folks. Even grown-ups and the elderly love nice healthy handmade popsicles! (Remember when I mentioned in the first Beat the Heat post that I’d been preparing the ideas and photos for this series for years? Look how much my Sofia has changed, from the vampire-mouthed munchkin of two years ago to the little lady in the second picture of this post!)
Now that you know all about how to make simple healthy DIY popsicles, let’s start getting more creative! Check out these three special versions of homemade popsicles that will get you and your family even more excited! Can you guess what they are? You can see them among the popsicles in the last two pictures of this post!
And of course, don’t forget to Pin this post here!
This post on making healthy DIY popsicles is part of the Beating the Summer Heat series! Stay tuned for more ideas on how to stay cool at home on hot summer days!
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