Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Strawberry-Basil and Peach-Ginger Popsicles

Despite Seattle's meteorological mood swings (from sunny heat to chilly rain, sometimes all in the same day), summer is here. That means it's popsicle season. Before you point it out to me, I know this isn't really "cooking," but these are easy and delicious, perfect for a summer day. Besides, "What's Jim Freezing?" is not nearly as catchy a blog title.

I love making popsicles at home. It's really easy, and you know what you're eating. I have fond childhood memories of Otter Pops, but when I tried one last summer it wasn't the same. The neon colors and sickly sweet, corn-syrupy flavor? It'd be nice to have a fruit-flavored treat that actually had some fruit in it. We can do better.

The other upside to making your own is that you can combine just about any flavors you want. Sweet, savory or a mix of the two. The world is your oyster (let's not make oyster popsicles, though).
I have a feeling I'll be whipping up all kinds of popsicles this summer, but I wanted to start with something basic. Peach and strawberry. The ginger and basil play well off these two and make the flavors a little more interesting and complex. Feel free to play around with them and make your own up (basil and peaches could be interesting).

If you don't already have them, I'd recommend getting some popsicle molds for this. You can buy them at just about any supermarket in the summertime, but you really can't beat the selection online. There are all sorts of shapes and sizes to choose from.


2 cups hulled and quartered strawberries
3 tbsp evaporated cane sugar*
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp of chopped basil
1/8 cup water (maybe more)

2 cups chopped peaches (peeled or not)
3 tbsp evaporated cane sugar*
2 tsp lemon juice
a pinch of ginger
1/8 cup water (maybe more)

*I've been getting some questions about what evaporated cane sugar is, and where to find it. It's basically just unrefined sugar. It's a little more crystal-like and has a light amber color. You can sometimes find it in bags on the shelf near the regular sugar, but the stuff I use is in the bulk section of the supermarket, next to the flours and oats and stuff. It's usually around $1.50 a pound. I took us off the processed sugar about a year ago, so that's why it appears in my recipes instead of plain old sugar. Of course, you can use the plain old sugar if you don't have any of the cane sugar. It's a 1-1 swap for the processed stuff, so the substitution is really easy.

Put everything in the blender and process until smooth. You may need a little more water, depending on the consistency you want, but I found 1/8 cup to be just right. Here's a view down into my blender:

Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and put the caps on tight. Put them into the freezer and freeze for at least 8 hours.

If you don't have popsicle molds, just pour the mixture into paper cups and put them into the freezer. After an hour, they'll be frozen enough to allow a stick to stand upright. Put the stick in and let it freeze as normal.

To unmold, run the molds under some cool water and jiggle the handle a bit. The popsicles will slide right out. Lick 'til your heart's content!

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