While I frequently achieve less-than-successful results with my projects, I do also succeed with some regularity. Good thing too, otherwise I would probably get depressed and give up completely. One of my favorite projects is popsicle making, because it is pretty much foolproof. It’s almost always delicious, is a great way to use up leftover things from other cooking projects, and my 3 year old loves the results.
I have two sets of popsicle molds, both wedding gifts from years ago, but often both of the sets are fully in use. When that happens, I use a method I found in a Highlights magazine that works really well and also uses up some random stuff I have around the house. I have a giant box of tiny paper Dixie cups (for making baking soda volcanoes, obviously) that I use, and while Highlights suggests that you use actual craft/popsicle sticks, I find that we almost always have multiple packages of cheap wooden chopsticks from takeout Chinese or sushi, so I just snap those in half. Pour popsicle liquid (juice, etc – more on that to come) into the paper cup, put it in the freezer for an hour, then stick your chopstick half into the somewhat solidified popsicle and leave it until you are ready for it. When it’s popsicle time, you just peel the paper away and voila – homemade popsicle.
I really like doing this because I can experiment with flavors that you don’t see in stores, each popsicle can be customized, and I don’t use any extra sugar (usually) so it’s pretty dang pure.
A few weeks ago I had almost an entire can of coconut milk left over from a curry that only used a teeny bit, and I know from experience that though I might have the best of intentions, that leftover coconut milk will almost certainly sit in my fridge until it is unusable. So, I busted out my Dixie cups. In one I mixed the coconut milk with some lime juice and zest from a random lime I happened to have in the fridge. In the other I mixed it with some canned pineapple juice that Leo uses in cocktails sometimes. We debated trying to make some fruity cocktail popsicle, perhaps with a rum float. The decision at the time was no, but I’ve actually been regretting that ever since, and I think boozy popsicles are going to happen in this household pretty soon.
Then I made my failed strawberry jam. The recipe called for eight cups of strawberries, to be crushed down to five cups, but I wasn’t paying attention and enthusiastically crushed waaaaaay too many strawberries, so I decided to make some super chunky popsicles with the leftovers. It ended up enough to make several popsicles – one each of strawberry with: lavender, balsamic, chocolate, heavy cream swirled through, thyme, basil, and vanilla. They were absolutely beautiful and smelled like summer.
On a lovely, warm summer evening after dinner on the patio, we decided it was popsicle time. Hazel chose strawberry thyme, and chose for Leo coconut lime. In the end we all ended up sharing, and I was pleased that Hazel actually preferred the coconut one – it’s always satisfying to see her palate expanding, and I didn’t think there was a thing in the world she would choose over strawberries.
Both popsicles were total successes, although I might blend up the strawberries if I do it again instead of just crushing them…not a complaint, just an improvement.
And I still have huge tubs of strawberries from our picking adventure. Next up – strawberry basil fruit leather!