Happy almost fourth of July! What better way to celebrate this hot, Summer Holiday than with a cool, refreshing popsicle?
We love popsicles, as do many other folks slogging through these muggy Summer months. They are a great way to cool down and make for refreshing afternoon snacks on the patio. Making them yourself is a healthy, fun activity and really only involves having a freezer. If you don't have popsicle molds you can use small glasses and you can also swap out popsicle sticks for large pretzel sticks.
The next time you're going to buy popsicles at the store check out the ingredients. A lot of them have added processed sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup. By making them yourself you can control the amount of sugar and make these frozen treats into vitamins on a stick by using lots of fruit. And by working in layers you can make some great color schemes, like red white and blue for Independence Day.
Independence day pops
Makes: 4 popsicles
~ 1 cup lemonade
1/4 cup chopped strawberries
3 tablespoons finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup chopped blueberries
Divide strawberries to popsicle molds (this is enough for four). Pour in enough lemonade to immerse strawberries. Freeze until solid. Divide coconut and again immerse in lemonade. Freeze until solid. Add blueberries and top off with lemonade. Freeze completely.
With all the abundance of Summertime produce why not save some of it for the next year? A great way to use up extra fruit and save a little money is to make your own fruit jam when the pickings are ripe. And with all the great deals on berries and such during the Summer it's also cost-effective to make your own preserves.
When it comes to jams many times they have just one fruit (like strawberry jam). I personally love spreads that have lots of fruit, so that my kids are getting a bunch of different fruits in one bite. Here's a way to utilize the season, use up that Summer fruit, and sneak in some more fruit with that Pb and J- make a Summer fruit spread.
Just one note about added sugar. Some store-bought jams have high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener
. When you make it yourself you can make your jam sugar-free (if your fruit is sweet enough) or with a natural sweetener like honey or agave nectar if your fruit is a little more tart.These also make an excellent gift. I canned mine and gave a couple of jars away already. I have done a post on canning before, so check it out if you want to try canning your own.
Canning times vary based on altitude; I did mine for 10 minutes but take a look at this information from the National Center for Home Food Preservation
for what works best for your elevation.Enjoy!Summer fruit spreadMakes: 6 x 6 oz jars2 cups grapes1 cup blueberries6 plums, pitted and quartered3 large apricots, pitted1 teaspoon cinnamonhoney or agave nectar to taste (depending on fruit sweetness)Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pan.
Bring to a steady boil. Let cook until fruit is soft and falls apart, about 1-2 hours. With a potato masher mash fruit well. Check for doneness by dipping a wooden spoon into the mix; if jam coats the spoon and doesn't drip off it is ready. Add to jars and can or freeze for long-term storage.
I've said it before and I'll say it again- I love summertime produce. Berries are my kiddos all-time favorite fruit, and during the summer you get flavorful, sweet, ripe berries just about anywhere. So we have to get our fill while the pickings are ripe. This week we got a boatload of raspberries, and though I'm sure we'll make some head way on just by munching, I figured we could also try making a raspberry lime sauce.
This is essentially a healthier rendition of the fruit ice cream toppings you can get at the ice cream shop that are full of sugar. You are welcome to use it as an ice cream topper too, but there is a lot more healthier options you can use this sauce for. I'm going to show you how to make it today, then I'll post some recipes utilizing it throughout the week.
Around here we've been on an agave nectar kick. It's a natural sweetener extracted from agave plants. It doesn't make your blood sugar go crazy the way normal sweeteners do. Normally sugar will cause you blood sugar to spike, followed by a crash (a.k.a. the tantrum). With agave nectar this increase is slower and the following decease is more gradual. It's recommended for diabetics and it's a vegan-friendly food. I live in Southwest and it's at all the grocery stores, not just the natural food markets. But if you can't find it at your grocery store you can also use honey.
Aside from the recipes I'll post this week you can also just use this on hot cereal, yogurt, granola and on fruit. Enjoy!
Raspberry lime sauce
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooling time: several hours in the fridge
Makes: 1 1/2 cups
1 pint (12 oz) raspberries
1/4 cup water
1/4-1/2 cup agave nectar, depending on sweetness of raspberries
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
In a saucepan combine raspberries, water and nectar. Cook over medium heat, occasionally stirring until lightly boiling. Reduce heat and cook until raspberries are just starting to fall apart.
Add mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Then press and strain the puree to remove the raspberry seeds. Add the lime juice, then refrigerate until set. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.