Summer is here! Huzzah!
I’ve been looking for homemade popsicle ideas lately. This is mostly due to the fact that processed summer treats (like freezies and other frozen fruit concentrates) are packed with extra sugar and preservative-like substances that I can’t pronounce (not my favorite). The second reason is that I am living in an incredible area of BC for fresh fruits and veggies, so why not make my own? I’m not even going to justify that question with an answer.
The first time I experimented with this recipe, I realized that without all that extra sugar, and with the addition of coconut milk to real fruit, they turn out like a treat fused with a snack that has some belly-filling substance. Word on the street is that fruit is best consumed as a snack, anyway, so here we go!
I’m making 4 popsicles at a time, so my measurements are lesser, but you could certainly make this en masse if you have the freezer space. We, unfortunately, do not, so we do small batches. At our house, the term “measurements” is used very loosely. I create food using the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants method.
I’m using mangoes today, but realistically you could use any fruits for this, frozen or fresh. I would also like to attribute my mango madness to my pal Tyler, whose obsession with ataulfo mangoes knows no bounds. These are the smaller, yellow mangoes, as opposed to the huuuuuuge red and green ones. I find those to be a little bitter, and their after-flavor isn’t quite as nice. The yellow ones are sweeter, and the fruit itself has a smoother texture.
Every time I get the chance to buy mangoes at a decent price, I will. If they’re good, I go back and buy cases of them for a myriad of purposes; previous cases of mangoes have gone into jam and chutney. In this scenario, we let them ripen on the counter until they’re perfect (during this time frame we consume as many fresh as we can) and at this point, if they’re ripening faster than we can eat them, I chop whatever is starting to pass its prime, and freeze in a single layer on a parchment lined sheet pan. The parchment is there to help prevent the fruit from sticking to the pan – not entirely necessary, just helps clean up. After they’re frozen, the mango chunks are tossed in a ziplock bag in the freezer – they’re awesome for smoothies, with your yogurt and granola, and just such occasions as summer, since mangoes are usually April -May (in Vancouver, anyway).
If you’ve never chopped a mango before, you should know; they’re devilishly slippery little bastards but they are so worth the work. Best part about chopping mass amounts of mangoes is eating whatever’s left on the pit, since most times, with a paring knife, you can’t quite get all the meat off there. Be ready for a tooth-flossing session after, though, for real, and be careful with your paring knife – I usually take some skin off my fingers if I’m doing a large pile at a time, and today is no exception. I’m also extraordinarily clumsy; either way, knife safety is nothing to sniff at.
Let’s get to it, then, shall we? This 29 degree weather says yes!
For 4 Popsicles in the plastic mold I have, I use about half a bullet cup of fresh fruit. Today’s cup is 2 medium sized mangoes. If you’re using frozen, I suggest filling the cup with frozen fruit and letting it thaw in the fridge overnight. If you like fruit chunks, you’re welcome to skip blending, or you can even blend part-way. They’re yours – you choose.
It’s worth noting at this point that fresh fruit is better than frozen, but you know my other philosophy – use what you have. Frozen fruit is good too but if you can use fresh, I promise it’s better. You won’t use as much extra sweetener this way.
These mangoes are perfect ripeness, which means they have enough of their own sweetness that the coconut milk won’t dilute their flavor too much and added sweetness isn’t necessary. Depending on the kind of fruit, you may need to add extra maple syrup, but it’s fully up to you how much you use. To begin with, I only put in about a quarter can of coconut milk (as much as I needed to cover the fruit). I like to blend the liquid in gradually so you can be sure to fully puree the fruit. Do it in two additions, about a quarter can at a time, and then taste and add more liquid if your blend is a little on the stiff side. This won’t affect the consistency at the end, really. If you like scooping thick fruit puree into small molds, be my guest. 😉 Too messy for me! This is a good spot to note that it’s going to be pretty hard to screw these up.
If you don’t like too much coconut flavor (I promise the flavor is subtle without any added liquids, but again, it’s up to you what you prefer), you can add some other kind of liquid as well, or instead. If this is the case, I’d suggest an almond milk or something similar, since adding too much juice or water-based liquid will freeze differently, giving your popsicles a less creamy texture. If you like less cream and more ice, that’s cool! Popsicle pun?
So I’ve blended mine all the way (I like smooth texture rather than chunks) and poured then into the molds. If your molds are separate like mine, they probably come with a little tray. Once your mold is full, you should make sure there are no air bubbles – just tap the tray on the counter gently. If yours doesn’t have plastic handles, and you’re using wooden sticks, you can give them a little stir. Air bubbles make Swiss popsicles. No can dosville, babydoll.
- roughly 1 1/2 c. fruit of any kind*, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 can full-fat coconut milk**
- 2-3 tbsp. maple syrup
If using frozen fruit, thaw overnight. Blend all ingredients in blender and freeze in molds. Run under hot water to release popsicle from mold. Yum!
*Fruit suggestions: mangoes, peaches, nectarines, melon, berries…use your imagination! I have used mangoes, but I’ve also done a blueberry/strawberry combo and they were delicious. Depending on your fruit choice, you may need to add more sweetness. Dragonfruit! Kiwi! Papaya! Pomegranate might be tricky but you could always strain any leftover seeds out. Or, if you like crunch, don’t blend at all and leave the seeds whole?? Shoot, if you’re going to do pomegranate seeds in there, you might as well go all out and put some chia in…more on that later. (A little stream of consciousness for you! This is how my brain works sometimes.)
**The brand I like best so far is Aroy-D. I have used others in the past but so far this is my favorite. You can also use coconut cream for these, as it’s even thicker, but I haven’t seen any in the stores recently. It’s probably easier to find in smaller markets and specialty stores, but we shop at Superstore so we take what we can get. The brand of coconut cream (they also have good coconut milk) that I liked was Savoy. Some tinned coconut milk I’ve found tends to be thinner – the stuff right from Thailand has a tendency to separate if it’s left to sit for a while (this is a good thing, I reckon), but if you shake the can before opening, it’ll thicken up nicely. Stirring works too.