I’m a little behind last year on my first summer popsicle post. Maybe it’s due to the unseasonably chilly and wet spring we had here in Indiana — it seems everything is a little behind. I was informed today that cherries won’t be ready for another week — and it was a year ago this week that I was ignoring my houseful of boxes in order to pick them before the worms had their way.
But summer has caught up to us all. It was 95º in Indianapolis today — hotter than on any single day of our first summer here. As our ironic river birch trees provided a welcome canopy from blistering rays, I sat somewhat comfortably (not profusely sweating, but not without my lounging limits) outside after lunch as the kids played and ate our first summer popsicles. It’s amazing what a good shade tree (and an ever-so-slightly tepid breeze) will do for my mood; I didn’t even mind as melting popsicle juice dribbled down chins, fingers, arms, and clothes. By the last licks, I had three kids on my hands so sticky that a quick bath was in order (and bathing, in our house, is reserved for emergencies).
Popsicles can be totally hit or miss. Sometimes what tastes lovely in a blender becomes somewhat bland in a frozen state; texture also plays a part — it’s not as satisfying to crunch on a rock-hard block of ice as it is for your teeth to sink into something more pillowy. But the beauty of homemade popsicles is their versatility and frugality — anything goes, with (usually) little investment — so you might as well give the blender a whirl and see what happens in the freezer.
These were deemed a keeper by everyone. I was at Kroger one day last week, and saw fresh raspberries on sale for $1/tub. I’m not a huge fan of raspberries — and maybe this is a case of my never having had a truly fresh/ripe one — but they have thus far not presented as a very satisfying berry to my palate. But at such a low price, I knew something must be done with them. We bought two packages, their future yet to be determined.
Fatefully, that very afternoon my kids began their customarily incessant requests for popsicles. I thumbed through The Perfect Scoop, found a raspberry sherbet recipe, and adjusted it for popsicle use (requiring less sugar than their sorbet/gelato/sherbet counterparts). We mixed, blended, poured, and froze, and next day enjoyed the bright fuschia fruits of our labor. The milk lends a creaminess to these flavorful, slightly tart, not-too-sweet treats.
One step that might seem excessive but I try to include is straining the puree before freezing. This rids the pops of those pesky raspberry seeds, which would change the texture and possibly require tooth-brushing (I’m already committed to a mid-day bath — tooth-brushing is out of the question). My favorite tool for this is a conical fine-mesh strainer, a tool that is irritatingly pricey and hard to find. If you get one, you will find it becomes your favorite strainer — all the more heartbreaking when your kids’ repetitive use of it as a hat causes the mesh to tear away from the frame (oh, the cost of coddled imaginations).
We’ll be whirling these up again, assuming I once again find raspberries on sale. As far as mid-day baths, well, let’s just say I’ve gotten that out of my system. While succumbing to summertime heat, I also let go my fears of sweaty, sticky children climbing into their beds at night. Such freedoms are what summer-times are made of (read: at least they’re not sleeping in my bed).
Raspberry Sherbet Popsicles (adapted from a recipe in The Perfect Scoop)
makes about 8 popsicles
- 3 cups fresh raspberries (about 2 6-oz containers)
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Place berries, milk, and sugar in a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, then stir in lemon juice. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until solid.
When ready to un-mold, run lukewarm water over molds until pops loosen.