Cool off with homemade ice pops this summer!

Ice pops are the perfect remedy against the blazing summer heat. These cold treats have always been a favorite but it is easy to be disappointed with the added ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup, sugar and artificial coloring. What happened to just a simple fruit pop?

You’re in luck! Homemade pops are cold, colorful and easy to make at home using seasonal ingredients found at the farmers’ market. Making your own ice pops gives you the freedom to try new flavors while loading up on healthy ingredients, such as whole fruit and plain yogurt.

To start, you will need to gather a few supplies in your kitchen. You will need a blender or food processor to puree the ingredients. For the ice pop mold, you can use items around your house, such as small yogurt containers, ice cube trays or paper cups. You can also spend less than $10 and purchase plastic molds that can be reused.

The most difficult step of making an ice pop is choosing what ingredients to include. We challenge you to stay seasonal and pick up fresh fruit from the Durham Farmers’ Market, such as watermelon, peaches, raspberries and blueberries. Vegetables also make tasty additions to ice pops so do not be afraid to experiment.

Once you picked your ingredients, slice the fruit or vegetable and remove any seeds. Use your blender to achieve the ideal texture for your ice pop. If you prefer smooth textures, blend the ingredients until they are fully pureed. If you like chunks of fruit, blend for just a few seconds. Experiment and find what works best for you.

If you want to add a sweetener to your ice pop, use a liquid sweetener, such as honey, maple syrup or agave. However, be sure to taste test the mixture before adding a sweetener because the fruit is often sweet enough so no added sugar is necessary.

Once you have your desired texture and sweetness, you are ready to fill your ice pop molds. Remember that liquids expand when frozen so fill your mold only three-quarters of the way to avoid a mess. If you are using homemade molds, let the ice pop freeze for at least 45 minutes before inserting a wooden popsicle stick.

There are countless ways to make an ice pop. Use leftover fruit or purchase seasonal fruit at the farmers’ market. You can taste your combination before you place it in the ice pop mold and decide if you need to add any last-minute ingredients. Have fun and be creative!

Below are a few ice pop recipes to help you cool off this summer:

Peach & Ginger Ice Pops
(Makes 6-8 ice pops)

  1. Purchase 4 peaches and a small piece of ginger root (about 2 oz.). Cut the peaches into bite-sized pieces, with or without skin. Peel the ginger and cut into small pieces. Place the peaches and ginger in the blender and mix to desired consistency. If you prefer a more creamy texture, add 1/2 cup of yogurt or milk.
  2. Pour the mixture into the ice pop mold.
  3. Let freeze for 3-4 hours. When ready to serve, run the ice pop mold under warm water for 3-5 seconds to loosen before removing. Enjoy!

Watermelon Ice Pops
(Makes 10 ice pops)

  1. Purchase a small watermelon and cut into small pieces, removing all seeds. Place in the blender and mix until pureed.
  2. Pour the mixture into the ice pop mold.
  3. Let freeze for 3-4 hours. When ready to serve, run the ice pop mold under warm water for 3-5 seconds to loosen before removing. Enjoy!