Popcicles take me back to the sweet memories of childhood when food was simple and life was uncomplicated.
My mother used to make these homemade frozen treats with flavored sugar water and I remember eating them in the hot summer days in Japan, often letting the sweet liquid drip down my tiny arm. How I miss the good old days before artificial flavored and colored products invaded the supermarket isles …
I decided to make the homemade dessert today using the popcicle mold I purchased recently but with a little twist. Instead of sugar water, I used real fruits, agave nectar and kefir to make the all-natural version of the summer staple that rivals any frozen yogurt shops around. If you are unfamiliar with kefir, think of it as a yogurt with a punch. It is much tangier than its more popular cousin, with a great health benefits. I love it so much (actually more than yogurt) that I buy mine regularly at Trader Joe’s. It is available at the refrigerated section next to milk and other dairy products.
Strawberry Kefir Pops
Makes 10 popcicles
(This recipe was inspired by yogurt pops recipe from the June 2009 edition of Yoga Journal but changed the measurements and ingredients slightly. There is a wonderful article on yogurt titled, “Cool Culture” in the magazine where you can learn about the health benefits of bacteria cultures.)
16 oz fresh or thawed frozen strawberry (1 package)
1-1/2 cups fat-free kefir
1/4 cups agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
① Puree the strawberry in the blender until smooth. You can pass the puree through the strainer into a bowl if you prefer a smooth texture but if you are like me and love those itsy-bitsy seeds, keep it as is.
② Mix the puree, kefir, agave nectar, lemon juice and vanilla extract in a bowl (you can drink it just like this too … it’s a delicious fruit shake!)
③ Pour the mixture into each cavity of the popcicle mold. I used a funnel for easy pouring.
④ Insert the wooden sticks and freeze the mold in the freezer for at least 6 hours.
⑤ When you are ready to eat, you will find that it is quite difficult to remove the pop from the mold. Simply dip the outside of the mold in water (not with warm water because it will melt) and it should slide out easily after about 30 seconds.
When life throws you a lemon, you make lemonade. On the same note, when the Valley throws you a 110 degree weather, you make delicious homemade frozen treat! And who said you need an expensive ice cream maker to make delicious summertime treats? It’s all about getting back to the old-fashioned goodness.