Hi! Today I'm joining the Week to Beat The Heat summer blog tour with a little post about one way my kids (and I!) love to spend hot afternoons - making (and eating, of course) homemade ice pops.
|Classic NatalieandSam photoshoot right here.|
My girls looove ice pops - they'd eat them all day if I'd let them, and happily avoid any other food. While I have nothing against a box of Popsicles or plastic-wrapped "freezies", sometimes it's just fun to spend a half hour or so thinking up and creating your own flavors and combinations!
Originally I thought I'd do a fresh tropical fruit combination for this post, but one night Natalie (very randomly) asked me for iced tea before bed. While sweet iced tea is a favorite beverage of mine, I had no idea she liked it - and I still don't know what prompted her to ask. Anyway, it got the wheels turning - sweet tea ice pops? Why not?
A little trip through Google sent me off in the direction of candied lemon peel - after looking over a few recipes, I got the basics down.
You can find a recipe to your liking online, but here are the basics:
hot water (to blanch the lemon slices in)
ice water (to blanch the lemon slices in)
sugar water (to boil/candy the lemon slices in)
I relied heavily on Martha Stewart - I sliced a lemon very thin, dropped them in boiling water (off the heat) for a minute or so, then into an ice bath. I left them in the ice bath while I got my sugar water going (one to one ratio), then moved them to my pan.
Make sure you lay them out in an even layer, otherwise you'll have clumps of lemon candy. Not that that's a bad thing, but it's not helpful for ice pops. ;)
If it's at all possible - do this on a gas stove. If you have electric - your heat needs to be lower than you think!! (Not that I burned a whole bunch of my lemon or anything, I'm totally just guessing here...*ahem*)
I love these. I made the tea mix a little stronger than usual, because I didn't want to lose any of the flavor - and it worked. The pops are strongly tea flavored, with pops of lemon from the candied slices - so good! Candying your own fruit is fiddly, but it's worth it.
Natalie, surprisingly (or maybe not), decided she preferred her store bought pops. I don't know if she didn't like the flavor, or if the lemon slice freaked her out. I figured Sam would be the same - but minutes after I sat down with my own ice pop, she came running in to "trade" for her banana one - and ate the whole sweet tea pop, lemon slice and all! 2 out of 3 isn't bad! ;)
Ice pops are a perfect way to keep cool, and when you make your own, you're only limited by your imagination. Any combination of fruit, sweet, sour flavors will do - whatever your family likes! Orange cream is next on my list! Until then...sweet tea, anyone?