DIY Popsicles: A Happy, Healthy Snack

June 7, 2010   10 Comments

Summer is here, baby! My town hit 87 degrees and I was hot. Fortunately, I had just made some of these delicious treats for the website.

DIY Popsicles

Lauren, a Snack Girl reader who is a Nutritional Educator at D. C. Central Kitchen, wanted to know how to make her own popsicles for the low income people she teaches. (If you live in DC, check out this group - they look so awesome!)

So, I looked into it, and I found this AMAZING book. "Pops!" by Krystina Castella is a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to make their own popsicles. She has a ton of recipes including ingredients such as fruit juice, yogurt, fruits, coffee, and (dare I mention it) alcohol. I, literally, could not wait to try her recipes.

Why would you want to make your own popsicles? Because it is cheaper and you can control the ingredients. It is amazingly difficult to find a popsicle in the store made from just fruit or fruit juice.

Once, I purchased a "no added sugar" variety for my children, thinking it meant just juice, and ended up with SUCRALOSE in the ingredients. (I was pissed!!!) I really don't believe my children need artificial sweeteners.

So, I chose the easiest recipe in the book, Grape Pops, because I am lazy. Just 2 ingredients, grapes and grape juice, and you have a divine icy creation for a mere 73 calories - no added sweeteners or artificial colors.

Lauren had asked me to figure out a way to make them without any expensive molds. In her book, Krystina gives all sorts of ideas for popsicles molds that don't involve commercial molds. I made these with popsicles sticks that I bought from a craft store (I also saw popsicle sticks at a Dollar Store) and Dixie Cups.

The key to using cups and sticks was that I had to wait 30 minutes before adding the sticks to the cups. When the grape juice got slushy, I could add the popsicle stick and it would stand up on its own. You could also do with with an ice-cube tray.

I have included a link to the most popular popsicle molds on Amazon. I bought some EL-Cheapo ones ($4) at the grocery store and they really stunk. If you think you are going to make a lot of popsicles, I say go with the top.

Off to make Krystina's Margarita Pops.... (Did I say that out loud?)

Grape Pops Recipe

(from Pops! Icy Treats for Everyone by Krystina Castella (Quirk Books, 2008))

(makes eight 6-ounce pops)
1 1/2 cups seedless red grapes, cut in half
4 1/2 cups white grape juice

1. Divide the grape halves among the pop molds. Pour in the grape juice and insert the sticks. Freeze for at least 6 hours.
2. Remover from the freezer; let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before removing the pops from the molds. Enjoy these pops as you would a fine wine.

66 calories, 0.2 g fat, 15.7 g carbohydrates, 0.8 g protein, 0 g fiber, 2 mg sodium, 1 Points+

Ever attempted to make your own popsicles? Please share!

Want to read about snacks?
A Little Ranch Dressing Isn't Gonna Kill Ya
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20 Yummy Potato Chips for 120 Calories
When It Heats Up Try This Simple Zero Calorie Drink

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This looks delish!

These look cool! I actually bought a (probably sucky) popsicle mold for $1 at the end of last season. You've reminded me that I have way too much watermelon in the fridge, and the kids are gone for 2 weeks. I think I'll puree it and make watermelon popsicles!

I make my family popsicles all summer, using the popsicle mold you have advertised. The molds are great, although the popsicles they create are a little large. I use just fresh fruit. Whatever fruit you want (watermelon, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, peaches), just crush it up, either by hand or using a blender, or chop it small, and then squish it into the mold. You can mix fruits - banana and berries or peaches make delicious pops -- and you can add a little water if the fruit alone is not liquid enough or seems too thick. It is that simple and completely gourmet delicious! Sort of the opposite of GoGurt - real food that is not too sweet but tastes yummy.

Ah, this is inspiring and good timing too. My mom bought us this Zoku Quick Pop Maker from Williams Sonoma for Christmas this year. It is a really cool gadget but I'd never buy it for myself. So far I've just made plain juice pops mostly (I did some eggnog ones at Christmas, YUM!). But I'm inspired now to try new things and use lots of fresh fruits... Can't wait!

We used to make them all the time with Kool-Aide (which I don't buy any more since we all have weird allergies to artificial colors) but we really enjoyed making them and eating them. I'm sure we could do the same thing with home-made juice. I love a maple sweetened lemonade or limeade.

you can also add plastic wrap over it and poke the sticks through it thus eliminating till they turn to slush :)

I'm going have to find that book. I would be interested in seeing what there is with alcohol. I make some pretty good stuff with alcohol but always looking for new ideas.

That's awesome- I love the simplicity of a delicious homemade popsicle!

Margarita pops? Now you're talking my language!

These aren't the healthiest popsicles, but they taste a hundred percent better than the ones you buy in the store, and even better than the juice ones you make yourself (sometimes frozen juice doesn't have the full flavor you would expect).

Grandma Margaret Kaatz Popsicles:
1 cup boiling water
1 box gelatin, any flavor
1 package Kool-Aid, any flavor
1 cup sugar
5 cups cold water

Stir jello, Kool-Aid and sugar in boiling water; add cold water and mix again. Pour into popsicle molds. Freeze.

* mom note: these stain clothing! Best enjoyed outdoors and/or in swimsuits. :D

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