Earlier this past summer, I was talking with Sasha from our formulary about fun ways to use herbs and teas, and she suggested putting herbs and teas into popsicles. I’m not into sugary desserts, but a healthy frozen treat made with great ingredients was right up my alley.
Plus, everybody likes popsicles.
I became obsessed with the idea, went on Amazon and ordered a set of BPA-free popsicle molds, along with 2 very fun books (“Glow Pops” by Liz Moody and “People’s Pops” by Nathalie Jordi, David Carrell, & Joe Horowitz) with some out-of-the-box creative recipes that really sparked my imagination.
Before we launch into the recipes I made so far, there are a few guidelines to follow in order to make popsicles that A) taste good and B) have a good texture and don’t end up like a hard block of ice.
To understand this, we need a teensy bit of science.
When water freezes, the molecules bond together tightly, which is why ice cubes are hard, rather than chewy. In order to avoid a rock-hard finished product, other molecules need to wedge themselves between the water molecules so that they don’t lock together. With popsicles or other frozen desserts, these fillers come from sugar, fat, and fiber.
You will need enough simple syrup, maple syrup, honey, agave to provide a good texture. If you don’t want to add too much sugar, then fat and fiber will have to fill in the gaps. Fruit will provide plenty of fiber, especially if you blend the fruit well and don’t strain it. When it comes to the fat component, full fat coconut milk, nut milk, avocado all provide great texture and extra nutrients.
So, I read the rules, dove in, and my first attempt was pretty tasty (although too sweet for my personal preference.) This is what I made:
You will need:
- 2 heaping teaspoons of your choice of Hibiscus or Uber-Berry Green Tea
- 6 ounces purified water
- 6 ounces sugar (I used coconut sugar, but you can substitute evaporated cane juice or other whole food sugar)
- 1 cup ripe strawberries, hulled
- 1 cup raspberries
- A blender
In a small saucepan, make a simple syrup by combining the coconut sugar and water. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Stir well until the sugar is completely dissolved. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the tea leaves and allow to steep in the sugar mixture for 5 minutes, then strain out the leaves.
Place the strawberries, raspberries, and the tea/sugar mixture in the blender and blend on high until the fruits are pureed to your liking. Some people like a lot of chunky fruit texture, while others prefer them to be smoother. These are your popsicles, so you can make them exactly how you like them.
Pour the mixture into popsicle molds, but leave a little room on top, because they will expand a little bit. Freeze for 6 to 8 hours or overnight.
My second success was my favorite so far, and might be yours too, if you like creamy fudgy spicy icy treats that are also healthy.
Chocomaya Chai Popsicles
You will need
4 heaping tablespoons Chocomaya Chai
2 cans (24 ounces) full fat coconut milk
4 tablespoons of your favorite healthy sweetener (maple syrup, raw honey, coconut sugar, agave syrup)
In a small stainless steel saucepan, combine the coconut milk and Chocomaya Chai. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Allow the concoction to simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and strain out the tea and spices. Stir in the sweetener and mix well. Pour into BPA free popsicle molds and freeze for 6 hours. Try not to eat them all in one sitting.
The next recipe is pretty energizing, so eat it earlier in the day, like during that lull between breakfast and lunch. It’s made with a combination of Matcha Green Tea and raw cacao powder, both of which are super energizing, and loaded with potent antioxidants to boot.
You will need:
- 1 – 2 teaspoons Matcha powder (start with one teaspoon, and add more to taste)
- 2 teaspoons raw cacao powder
- one can full fat coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons (or more, or less, to taste) of maple syrup, raw honey, or agave syrup
Blend everything really well with a whisk or in a blender and pour into popsicle molds. Let them freeze 6-8 hours, or overnight.
Do you have your own recipes for healthy popsicles? We would love to hear!
In the spirit of tasty good health,