Ice pops and cream pops make an easy, cool summer snack

Merced Sun-Star - - Market Value Place - By Jamila Robin­son

Tech­ni­cally, we aren’t sup­posed to call them “pop­si­cles.” That’s a reg­is­tered trade­mark. But ice pops, creamy pops made with milk or yo­gurt, and other fruity dessert­son-a-stick are hav­ing a mo­ment. You might be see­ing them pop up on your In­sta­gram feed, in bright col­ors, made with orange and mango and filled with pieces of fruit.

Be­cause pops are ver­sa­tile and easy to make, it’s worth it to try them at home, says bak­ing and dessert blog­ger Vallery Lo­mas.

You need only fruit juice, or iced tea, and what­ever fresh or frozen fruit you have on hand. You can add milk, cream, choco­late or even the last of that swig of St. Ger­main or bour­bon if that’s what it takes to cool off.

Lo­mas re­cently posted an In­sta­gram video class for her blue­berry, Greek yo­gurt, and co­conut milk pops.

“I started mak­ing pop­si­cles be­cause I lived in an apart­ment with no air­con­di­tion­ing,” Lo­mas said. “I like them for a sum­mer­time break­fast or snack be­cause I can con­trol what’s in it. I get good fat from the yo­gurt and it keeps me full.”

Ice pops also a make a good cook­ing project for kids, al­low­ing them to com­bine fruits, even though freez­ing and un­mold­ing time do re­quire a bit of pa­tience.

Pops are also great for serv­ing at a so­cial dis­tance. Just grab a stick and keep it mov­ing.

Here are some tips for mak­ing your own pops:

Molds: You can find ice pop molds at home goods stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond for about $13. To re­move the pops from the molds, run hot wa­ter over the mold just un­til the pop re­leases. Once the pops are re­moved, re­turn them to the freezer briefly to set.

Stor­age: Don’t store the pops in the molds be­cause you’ll have a hard time re­mov­ing them. In­stead, put them in zip­per bags where they will keep about two weeks.

In­sta­gram-wor­thy pops: Get your pops ready for so­cial posts by adding ex­tra fruit or even edi­ble flow­ers to the mold be­fore pour­ing in the liq­uid. Lo­mas says you can make pops pretty by giv­ing them a gar­den at­mos­phere us­ing laven­der sprigs or lemon thyme leaves. “If I was hav­ing a so­cially dis­tant back­yard party, I would serve beau­ti­ful pop­si­cles,” she said.

Fruit pops: You’ll need about 2 cups of fresh or frozen fruit, 1/4 cup of orange or ap­ple juice or and 2 to 3 ta­ble­spoons of su­gar, honey, or other sweet­ener. Puree the in­gre­di­ents in a blender, then pour into molds. Add 1 ta­ble­spoon of lemon juice to pre­serve the color of peaches and mango.

Creamy pops: A cup of Greek yo­gurt and 1/4 cup of milk can serve as the base for creamy pops. Feel free to use co­conut wa­ter, soy, or al­mond milk. You can add whole fruit to this base, or put all the in­gre­di­ents into a blender and puree, then pour into molds.

Lay­ered pops: Let each layer of fruit puree or creamy pop mix­ture set in the freezer for at least 20 min­utes be­fore adding the next fla­vor. Be sure to keep other purees re­frig­er­ated while lay­ers are set­ting.

BLUE­BERRY-CO­CONUT GREEK YO­GURT POPS

Makes 10 1 1⁄2 cups (12 ounces) Greek yo­gurt 3⁄4 cup (6 ounces) full fat co­conut milk

4 ta­ble­spoons gran­u­lated su­gar*, di­vided

1 1 ⁄ 2 cups fresh or frozen blue­ber­ries

*Honey can in­stead of su­gar, and ad­just to taste

In a large bowl, com­bine the Greek yo­gurt with the co­conut milk and 1 1⁄2 to 2 ta­ble­spoons of su­gar or honey. Stir vig­or­ously un­til you have a smooth con­sis­tency. Taste and add more sweet­ener, if de­sired. Set aside.

Make the blue­berry sauce by com­bin­ing the blue­ber­ries with the re­main­ing 2 ta­ble­spoons of gran­u­lated su­gar or honey in a small pot. Cook over medium heat un­til the blue­ber­ries start to break down. Stir and con­tinue cook­ing un­til it reaches a jam­like con­sis­tency. Re­move from heat.

Place a ta­ble­spoon of the yo­gurt mix­ture in each mold. Add a ta­ble­spoon of blue­berry sauce. Top with another ta­ble­spoon of the yo­gurt. Con­tinue al­ter­nat­ing un­til the mold is nearly full. Place the top on the mold and add the sticks. Freeze for six hours.

Once the ice pops are com­pletely frozen, place the mold un­der run­ning wa­ter so that they will loosen. Re­move and en­joy im­me­di­ately, or place in the freezer in an air-tight con­tainer with parch­ment pa­per di­vid­ing each row. These are an easy gra­band-go break­fast for summer, or a cool treat for any time of day.

— Recipe cour­tesy of Vallery Lo­mas; food­iein­newyork.com

LEMON ICE POPS

This ice pop recipe can be adapted for any fruit you have on hand. You can also add lime or co­conut. For pretty pops, drop thin slices of lemon and lime into the mold be­fore adding liq­uid.

Makes about 10 pops

3⁄4 cup su­gar or 1⁄2 cup honey

1 cup wa­ter 1⁄2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Zest of 2 lemons

Us­ing a saucepan, dis­solve su­gar into wa­ter, stir­ring con­tin­u­ously. Add juice and zest and bring to a sim­mer. Re­move mix­ture from heat and al­low to cool. Taste and ad­just sweet­ener, if needed.

Pour lemon mix­ture into molds, add sticks and freeze for 6 hours.

STRAW­BERRY CREAM POPS Makes about 10 pops

Any fruit you have on hand can be made into a creamy pop. For a mocha ver­sion, re­place fruit with

2 ta­ble­spoons of unsweet­ened co­coa pow­der and

1 ta­ble­spoon of es­presso pow­der. For a re­fresh­ing flo­ral pop, use honey and re­place fruit with a pinch of culi­nary laven­der.

2 cups straw­ber­ries, hulled and quar­tered

1 cup Greek yo­gurt

1⁄2 cup whole, co­conut, soy, or al­mond milk

1⁄4 cup su­gar or honey (to taste)

1⁄2 tea­spoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

Us­ing a blender, puree all in­gre­di­ents un­til smooth, scrap­ing down sides, if nec­es­sary. Taste and ad­just sweet­ener.

Pour mix­ture into ice pop molds, add sticks, and freeze for 6 hours.

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Sum­mer­time means it is time to ex­per­i­ment with home­made ice pops.

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A burst of sour lemon is a re­fresh­ing sum­mer­time snack.

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Lo­cal farm­ers mar­kets are prime spots for find­ing pro­duce for ice pops. Straw­ber­ries are in sea­son and make a low-cal fla­vor ad­di­tion to your ice pops.

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