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Thursday, August 12, 2010

watermelon-mint popsicles

Watermelon-Mint Popsicles
by Allen on August 4, 2008 Print This Post Print This Post Email or Bookmark

In the Winter, we crave warm and comforting foods and in the Summer it’s all about cool and refreshing fare. My childhood memories are of eating big slices of juicy, cold watermelon. We raised our own melons and would have several weeks of the biggest and sweetest red watermelon. Oddly though, I don’t remember that we did anything special with it … we simply sliced it up and ate it.

This week, I’ve decided to explore watermelon and make 5 dishes from the wonderful fruit. Today, I’m showcasing a delicious and easy watermelon-mint ice pop made in a shooting star mold. It left me wondering why I hadn’t done this sooner!

Last month, Erin of Erin Cooks featured her ice pop creations and it inspired me to give it a try. She made pistachio pudding pops and irresistible root beer float pops — what’s not to love?

While researching watermelon ideas, I came across a recipe from Emeril that sounded like a winning flavor combination. I didn’t like how he structured his recipe so I rewrote it in a simpler version that made more sense to me (i.e. why say 6 tablespoons of sugar when that’s approximately 1/3 cup?).

Watermelon-Mint Ice Pops
4 cups cubed watermelon
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup mint leaves
juice of 1 lime

Watermelon and mint are an amazing combination, like Bogart and Bacall. Begin by removing the watermelon rind and slicing your watermelon into small cubes. It’s easiest if you use a seedless watermelon but if you buy one with seeds (like I did), you’ll need to seed the watermelon before you puree it.

Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender then puree. I used a stick blender and it made quick work of the job. Pour the mix into your molds and freeze!

Allow them to freeze until fully firm before trying to remove from the molds. When you remove them from the freezer run the molds under warm water for a few seconds. This will loosen the pops so they will easily slip out. Then lick, suck, or bite your way through the pop until you give yourself brain freeze. If serving at a backyard barbecue, set the butt end of a watermelon in a bowl and stick the pops into the melon as I’ve shown in the photo.

Unfortunately, I had a hard time finding the molds locally but finally found this set at Macy’s (yes, they are Martha’s). I had hoped to find the Tovolo brand which so many people seem to like and which come in several shapes: shooting stars, groovy, and rockets.

Regardless of the shape though, the pops will taste delicious. I’m now experimenting with other flavors since these make such a satisfying and healthy treat. Why spend big bucks on a package of popsicles when you can make these at home for a fraction of the cost (and with natural fruit puree instead of dyes and synthetic flavors).

Last weekend, I used a combination of 1 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt, 1 cup fresh peach puree (about 3), and some raspberry preserves. I combined the peaches and yogurt and filled the molds, leaving a bit of space at the top. I then added a dollop of raspberry preserves and used a knife to poke it downward along the sides of the pop. Not only did it add extra flavor but it made for stylish shooting star.

Hmmm, if you think about it, yogurt and fresh peaches is basically breakfast on a stick. Now that’s a breakfast I could eat every day :-)

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