Frank Epperson was just a kid in 1905 when he accidently created a popsicle by leaving flavored soda water with a stirring stick in a glass outside on a very cold night. Frank discovered the frozen concoction was easy to enjoy while holding the stick. He patented the idea in 1923 and created popsicle recipes.
When I was a kid, I loved popsicles, especially the cherry-flavored ones. I ate the grape ones, followed by the orange ones. The lime ones would sit in the box and I would secretly throw them out so that my Mom would bring in a new box of frozen treats. I shudder to think of how much red dye and artificial flavoring I was consuming as a youngster. Not to mention the high fructose corn syrup on top of it all.
One day, out of the blue, I decided to experiment with my own popsicle recipes. The first one was extremely simple: I made orange juice popsicles with an ice tray. I saved up the wooden sticks from previous popcicles (yeah, I know, I know) and cut them in half. After 30 minutes in the freezer, I inserted the sticks.
Then one day, my Mom went to a Tupperware party and brought home a popsicle tray. I don’t think we ever bought another box of popsicles after that. However, we used Koolaid to create the popsicles–not much better, but hey, at least it was plain old sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. I experimented with different flavors by using whatever fruit juices we had in the fridge. I tried mixing milk with orange juice to create a Dreamcicle, but that quickly became a flop. I discovered vanilla ice cream was much better.
If you look at a box of popsicles today, you’ll often find high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavorings, and artificial colorings as major ingredients. It’s very easy to make your own popsicles at home. Just throw the ingredients into a blender or a Nutri-bullet to mix them up. You can use an ice tray, small plastic Solo cups, small paper cups, or a popsicle mold to freeze the popsicles. You can find popsicle sticks at the local craft store.
Here are six recipes your kids will love:
Blend together chocolate almond milk, and cocoa powder (For a healthier version that is also filling, I use Garden of Life Cocoa Protein Powder).
Blend together blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries with your child’s favorite juice. You can add honey to make it sweeter.
Chocolate almond milk with strawberries. You can add cocoa powder, chocolate ice cream, or vanilla yogurt to make it thicker.
Peel an orange or a tangerine, add orange juice, honey, and vanilla yogurt (or vanilla ice cream). You can hide carrots in this one.
Remove the pits from a handful of sweet cherries and add Cherry Cider (You can find this at Trader Joe’s). For an even sweeter mix, use Rainer cherries or add a bit of honey.
The Veggie Pop
If your little one is stubborn about veggies, here’s a great way to hide it in a treat: blend together kale, green apple, green grapes, honey, and apple juice.
For extra fun, put out bowls of different ingredients on a table and let your kids make their own combinations and recipes. You can even do this at the start of a birthday party and the popsicles will be ready to eat within an hour.