Independence Day is just around the corner. Celebrating the Fourth of July brings a sense of patriotism and community as people gather to enjoy parades, fireworks and barbecues. The summer heat adds an extra sizzle to the festivities, making it the perfect time to cool down by indulging in ice pops.
Before you dash to the grocery store, why don’t we make popsicles at home? Here’s a refreshing treat bursting with red, white and blue colors and fresh fruity flavors that bring relief on hot summer days.
Store bought pops are often full of sugar, artificial flavoring and dyes. How else can you get those neon colors not found in nature? While it’s fun for the kiddies to stick out their electric blue tongues, we can make healthy, delicious and nutritious pops they will love.
Do-it-yourself popsicles are so easy, you can literally put any flavorful fluid you wish in a popsicle mold, freeze it and make people happy. The molds can be found online, in practically any grocery store, even at dollar stores. Or you can opt for a nostalgic throwback and use craft sticks in little paper cups like back in the day. Remember ripping the paper off those chunky juicy ice pops?
Making popsicles at home can be as healthy and virtuous or as indulgent and decadent as you wish. They don’t have to be complicated; you can simply freeze fruit juice, soda or instant pudding, and the kids will love them. Make them with yogurt, fresh fruit, and roll them in granola, and they’re a breakfast treat. Make them with coffee or your favorite cocktail ingredients, and they’re an adult treat. And the best part, you can have an infinity of flavors, and they’re still totally cheap!
The recipe I’m sharing today is meant to truly help you beat the summer’s heat. We’re making a very healthy, light, refreshing popsicle brimming with electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals (which include calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium) your body needs. Electrolytes regulate hydration, muscle and nerve function, blood pressure and your body’s pH levels. Imbalances or deficiencies in electrolytes can cause everything from muscle cramps and fatigue to irregular heartbeat and seizures. When we perspire, we lose electrolytes. How fun to concoct a popsicle that helps to replace them!
We start with a coconut water base and add a simple syrup made with ginger. Coconut water rehydrates and replenishes electrolytes, especially potassium. When choosing coconut water, look for one that’s 100 percent juice with minimal ingredients — ideally just “coconut water.” Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory with antioxidant properties. Next, we add watermelon and blueberries, both packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
PATRIOTIC ICE POPS
Yield: approximately 3 3/4 cups
Servings: 10 (3-ounce) ice pops
2 tablespoons candied ginger, minced
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch sea salt
2 cups coconut water
1 1/2 cups watermelon, cubed
1/2 cup blueberries or blackberries
In a small saucepan, bring ginger, sugar, salt and 1/4 cup water to a boil. Let this reduce for about 5 minutes or until approximately 1/3 cup. Set aside to cool. When cooled, add the coconut water and stir. Use either a small melon baller or knife to make bite-size pieces of watermelon that will fit into your ice pop molds. Divide the watermelon pieces and berries among the popsicle molds. Fill with the coconut ginger mixture, and add your popsicle sticks. Freeze at least 4 hours, or better, overnight.
What a perfect way to end a summer evening on the patio, feeling like a kid again. See you next week!
Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the penny-pinching, party-planning, recipe developer and content creator of the website Divas On A Dime — Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at firstname.lastname@example.org
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