Spinach-Banana Ice Pops

Makes 6 to 8.

Note: These sound like they’d appeal only to health nuts, but they’re surprisingly yummy. You won’t taste the spinach at all, but you’ll enjoy all of the vegetable’s nutrients. From Gretchen McKay.

• 1 c. pineapple

• 1 1/2 c. fresh spinach

• 1 large overripe banana

• 1/2 c. water, milk or pineapple juice

Directions

Place all the ingredients into the blender. Process until completely smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.

If using conventional molds, divide the mixture among the molds, add sticks and freeze until solid, about 6 hours. If using unconventional molds, freeze until the pops are beginning to set (1 1/2 to 2 hours), then insert the sticks and freeze until solid, 4 to 5 hours. If using an instant ice-pop maker, follow manufacturer’s instructions.

 

Cantaloupe-Basil Ice Pops

Makes 6 to 8.

Note: Basil is referenced here, but mint or thyme also pair nicely with cantaloupe. To tell if the fruit is ripe, see if it has a sweet fragrance; it should also feel heavy for its size. Adapted from leitesculinaria.com.

• 3/4 c. cold water

• 1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. sugar

• 15 fresh basil leaves (see Note)

• 1 1/4 lb. (from 1 medium melon) cantaloupe melon chunks

•1/4 c. freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice

Directions

Place 3/4 cup water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add the herbs, and cook just until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Place cantaloupe chunks in a food processor and blend to a smooth purée. Add cooled sugar-herb mixture, with lime or lemon juice and blend again.

If using conventional molds, divide the mixture among the molds, add sticks and freeze until solid, about 6 hours. If using unconventional molds, freeze until the pops are beginning to set (1 1/2 to 2 hours), then insert the sticks and freeze until solid, 4 to 5 hours. If using an instant ice-pop maker, follow manufacturer’s instructions.

 

Fresh Ginger Moscow Mule Pop

Makes 8.

Note: This adults-only treat is a lickable version of the Moscow mule, a popular cocktail made with vodka, spicy ginger beer and lime juice. Adapted from “The Poptail Manual: Over 90 Delicious Frozen Cocktails,” by Kathy Kordalis.

• 3 1/2 oz. (7 tbsp.) vodka

• Juice of 1 lime

• 1 thumb-size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

• 2 oz. (1/4 c.) ginger syrup (see recipe)

• 1 3/4 c. club soda

• 8 pieces of ginger from ginger syrup

Directions

Combine vodka, lime juice, grated ginger, ginger syrup and club soda.

Divide mixture among ice pop molds, place lid on tray and freeze for 30 minutes.

Add ginger pieces from the syrup to the molds, slide ice pop sticks into the lid slots and freeze for a further 12 to 14 hours, until solid.

 

Ginger Syrup

Makes 8 1/2 cups.

Note: From “The Poptail Manual: Over 90 Delicious Frozen Cocktails,” by Kathy Kordalis.

• 8 1/2 oz. boiling water

• 7 tbsp. superfine sugar

• Large piece (about 1 oz.) fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin rounds

Directions

Stir boiling water and sugar together until sugar has completely dissolved.

Add ginger and leave until cool. Cooled syrup will keep in the refrigerator up to 4 weeks.

 

Pineapple Chipotle Ice Pops

Makes 6.

Note: These are on the spicy side but so refreshing! The recipe also would be terrific with mango or papaya. From homecookingmemories.com.

• 1 lb. pineapple chunks, frozen

• 3 tbsp. honey

• 1 tbsp. lime juice

• 1/2 tsp. minced canned chipotle chiles, or more to taste

• 1 pinch salt

Directions

In a food processor or blender, purée together the pineapple (and any of its juice), honey and lime juice. You may need to add some water to make it smooth.

Add chipotle peppers and salt with a few quick pulses of the processor or blender until it’s mixed in (you should see bits and specks of the peppers in the mixture). At this point, you can taste the mixture and add more chipotle peppers, if you wish.

If using conventional molds, divide the mixture among the molds, add sticks and freeze until solid, about 6 hours. If using unconventional molds, freeze until the pops are beginning to set (1 1/2 to 2 hours), then insert the sticks and freeze until solid, 4 to 5 hours. If using an instant ice-pop maker, follow manufacturer’s instructions.

 

Carrot and Green Fruit Juice Pops

Makes 8.

Note: Yes, you can make ice pops with just about any ingredient that can be puréed, including vegetables. The star of this healthful pop is carrots spiced with ginger and cinnamon. This pop takes some time, as you have to separately freeze the individual layers. Be sure to use a mold without snap-on tops, as you want to be able to pour the ingredients around the stick. Adapted from “Pops! Icy Treats for Everyone,” by Krystina Castella.

• 3 1/2 c. apple juice

• 1/2 c. brown sugar

• 1 1/2 c. peeled and diced carrots

• 1 tsp. ground ginger

• 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

• 1 c. coconut milk, homemade or canned, divided

• 1 c. any kind of green fruit-juice smoothie

Directions

In a saucepan, combine apple juice and brown sugar, and stir over low heat for 5 minutes to dissolve the sugar. Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the mixture.

To remaining apple juice mixture in the saucepan, add the carrots, ginger and cinnamon. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower heat and pour into a bowl to cool to room temperature.

In a food processor or blender, purée the carrot mixture until smooth. Add 1/2 cup coconut milk and process to combine.

In a bowl, combine green fruit juice, 3/4 cup of reserved apple juice mixture and remaining 1/2 cup coconut milk.

Partially fill the ice pop molds with the carrot mixture. Insert the sticks. Freeze for at least 2 hours. Add a layer of green juice mixture, freeze for 2 hours, then add a layer of the remaining reserved apple juice mixture.

Repeat layers, freezing for at least 2 hours between layers, until the pop molds are full. Freeze for at least 4 hours.

 

Strawberry Paletas (Mexican Ice Pops)

Makes 8 to 10.

Note: Whoever said no to a strawberry ice pop? No one, ever. These Mexican paletas, made with fresh fruit and a moderate amount of sugar, are a snap to whip up. Just be sure to purée the fruit with enough liquid so that it’s very smooth. Lemon juice adds a zippy finish and also helps keep the pops bright. From “Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice and Aguas Frescas,” by Fany Gerson.

• 4 c. fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters

• 3/4 c. sugar

• 1/2 c. water

• 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions

Combine strawberries and sugar in a bowl. Let sit until strawberries start releasing natural juices, 20 to 30 minutes. Place in a saucepan with the water over medium heat, simmer until they are slightly softened, about 5 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor, add the lemon juice and purée until smooth; alternatively, you could leave some chunks in if you like.

If using conventional molds, divide the mixture among the molds, add sticks and freeze until solid, about 6 hours. If using unconventional molds, freeze until the pops are beginning to set (1 1/2 to 2 hours), then insert the sticks and freeze until solid, 4 to 5 hours. If using an instant ice-pop maker, follow manufacturer’s instructions.