Once there was a busy mama and yoga teacher who realized that in her goal of always cooking healthy, delicious meals for her family that she had forgotten to bake any treats for a long long time, well since Christmas. :-). And so she magically created a little more time one busy morning, when she ought to have been doing more practical things like organizing her teaching calendar and getting her son to school right on time (he made it, thanks to Dad), and she decided to fill the kitchen with the aroma of fresh baked apples with some spice.
We love popsicles around here in the summer.
What’s not to love?
But better than store bought popsicles, are the ones you can make at home.
Home made popsicles are delicious, bursting with freshness and best of all, they do not contain any nasty preservatives, toxic color or excess sugar that are replete in conventional store bought brands.
And while we are lucky that there are so many good organic, natural popsicle companies now out there, I love coming up with new and simple recipes that are easy ways to get summer fruit, bursting with vitamins, enzymes and goodness into my six year old.
Here are two of our favorite summer popsicles. They are easy to make than you think and so much better than buying store bought ones. Plus, they are full of seasonal, nutritious benefits that make sense from both an Ayurvedic as well as a western holistic nutrition point of view.
A few tips for success:
- Use really fresh and ripe, organic fruit. In fact, even fruit verging on the cusp of being over-ripe is good. It will be at the peak of its sweetness and you probably won’t have to add any additional sweetener. Also, organic fruit always tastes better – and it’s better for the environment – all lessons I want my son to take in at this prime, imprinting stage in his life.
- Use only a few ingredients, so you can let them shine. Plus this helps with digestibility. The simpler something is, says Ayurveda, the easier it is to digest.
- If you must use sweeteners, our favorite is maple syrup. Sugar won’t blend so well into a cold fruit mix.
- Don’t be afraid to use unusual flavors, even for kids. Tantalizing evolving tastebuds is a good thing. Plus complementary flavors, e.g. the rosewater in the watermelon popsicles below is a great example – helps to alleviate the need for sweetener and can even enhance the existing fruit’s flavor.
- Have fun, get creative. And savor these as a treat on a hot summer day. 🙂
Watermelon Rose Popsicles (RECIPE below)
These are a delicious blend of – oh so sweet you don’t need to add any sugar – watermelon and rose water, which adds a beautiful, mysterious and fragrant flavor with health benefits galore.
“Watermelon is a good source of vitamin C and A,” says Paula Blanchet, Holistic Nutritionist at Interplay Nutrition. “It’s high in potassium and magnesium, two minerals that often get depleted with the heat and activity of summertime. Somehow the foods that are in season are often the ones that provide us what we need most for the weather. Mother nature likes to take care of us that way.”
Ayurveda, ancient India’s healing system of wellness, concurs. Watermelon in Ayurvedic terms is summer’s quintessential fruit as it contains 90% water. It is cooling and hydrating and is a rich source of the amino acid citrulline which helps dilate our blood vessels. Dilated blood vessels increase blood flow to any injured tissues and hasten our healing process, and also cool us down when we are overheated. Watermelon’s fibre is also useful, helping to soothe the digestive tract.
Rosewater, the second ingredient, is cooling on the body, yet it also enhances our digestive fire, and balancing our digestion is always the first step to health in Ayurveda, which is why I’ve added it here. Traditionally rosewater is also linked to soothing the heart and balancing the hormones, all good things when it gets hot outside.
2 cups organic watermelon: seeded and diced
1 – 2 tbsp rosewater
Blend until liquid. Taste for sweetness. If absolutely needed, add 1 – 2 tsp raw honey and re-blend.
Pour into popsicle molds. Wait until ready.
ps. To make these really pretty you can even toss a few edible rose petals into the popsicle molds before pouring in the liquid. 🙂
Strawberry Coconut Popsicles (RECIPE below)
This recipe combines the sweetness of strawberries with the hydrating, cool nature of coconut water. And they are delicious to taste.
Says Paula, “Strawberries are the perfect summer treat. They are also an excellent source of vitamin C, great for immune support through all the summer activities., and can also be helpful for kids that suffer from allergies as vitamin C helps to manage histamine production.”
Ayurvedically, strawberries can soothe an inflamed belly, cool the blood and help to restore the liver, all good things when we are over heated; which brings me to the next wonder ingredient: coconut water.
Brimming full of salts and minerals, sweet and cooling coconut water with its creamy taste, replenishes the body inside out, literally quenching our cellular thirst. It is also a restorative tonic for an inflamed gut and liver and we love that it transports us instantly to our time on many tropical shores.
“Yes,” agrees Paula, who adds, “Coconut water is like nature nature’s sports drink. It has an excellent balance of electrolytes including sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and carbohydrates as well as iron and vitamins C and B6.”
So here’s that recipe. Simple and full of goodness. And be forewarned, it may take you on a tropical staycation (at least for the afternoon).
2 cups ripe, organic strawberries
1/2 cup coconut water*
Blend well. Taste for sweetness. The coconut water may alleviate the need for additional sugar, and if your strawberries are sweet and ripe as well. If needed, add some maple syrup. Optional. Add a squeeze of lime if you’d like.
Pour into popsicle molds. Wait and enjoy. Sit down beside some pretty summer flowers and savor your treat.
- IF you have access to fresh young coconut water, that is obviously the best option, but if like many of us, you live where no coconuts grow, try to find a brand you like at the grocery store. Look for one with no additives.
A note about popsicle molds.
My girlfriend Anna introduced us to the ZOKU quick pop maker a few years ago. I finally purchased one and it has made popsicle making fun and fast. Basically it’s a gadget that allows you to pour in the mix and the popsicles are ready in about 8 minutes, which makes even a last minute idea doable. I love that they are BPA and Phthalate free and the sticks are re-usable, which makes for less waste, because even though I love the look of paletas these are in the long run, more sustainable for our family. ps. This post is not a plug for ZOKU, I just wanted to share what we use at home.
For other options, I recommend the stainless steel molds, which are better for the environment and more long-lasting than anything plastic.
Happy Summer and if you enjoy these recipes, please take a picture and tag us on Instagram with #yogue. Also, if you have some favorite healthy popsicle recipes of your own, please do post them in the comments below!