Wednesday, June 30, 2010
You all remember otter pops and those cheap-o popsicles your mom broke in half for you and your siblings. And who could forget fudgesicles, those bastions of pure, frozen, chocolate deliciousness? And while many of these cool summer treats are still available today, the prices have gone up somewhat since you were a kid. And you may have realized, as an adult, that they’re pretty much made of sugar…not so good for your health. However, there are plenty of ways to have the frozen treats you love (and even throw in some adult flavor) with less damage to your wallet (and your waistline).
For starters, you don’t have to avoid the frozen section at the grocery store. You can always wait for sales or coupons to get the brand name items you crave, or try the generic versions for less. Plus, buying in bulk at Costco could keep you in grape-sicle heaven all summer. And for those counting calories, there are a number of companies, like Skinny Cow, that offer frozen desserts with less sugar and fat. But as always, the most cost-effective way to have your favorite treats (and customize them to your dietary needs) is to make them yourself. If you don’t know where to start, you may want to invest in some forms or trays. Amazon has several options that come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and prices (as low as about $5), so you should have no trouble finding one that fits your freezer and your family. If you think the trays are too expensive, or you simply want to experiment a bit before getting yet another gadget to clutter up your kitchen, use an average ice cube tray and some toothpicks to see if you like the results.
As for what you put in your popsicles, that is entirely up to your discretion. But if you need an idea to get started, try fruit or vegetable juices, lemonade, or iced tea. If you go for sugar-free options, you can make a guiltless treat for those sweltering summer afternoons. You can also blend up a healthy and delicious smoothie to freeze for something that is a little creamier. Or if you’re ready to try something a little more complex, simply look for recipes online. A search on the Food Network website turns up some really fancy popsicle ideas, including some that are not for the tots (like margarita or martini freezes). They also have some party-worthy treats like coconut pops and classic Italian ice popsicles that your adult (non-alcoholic) friends will love. And for the kids, you can find perennial favorites from the county fair like chocolate-dipped frozen bananas (they’re not exactly ice, but they are an excellent summer treat!). RecipeZaar offers more tradition fruit recipes, with the notable addition of yogurt pops. And fudgesicles are so easy, you don’t even have to search for a recipe – just whip up some instant pudding mix, pour it in your trays, and freeze it!
So if you’re looking for a way to make some icy treats to stave off the hot rays of the summer sun, your best bet is to find a popsicle tray that suits you (kids will love ones that are swirly or shaped like stars, rockets, or their favorite cartoon characters) and you’ll quickly make back whatever you would have spent on frozen fare for the summer. Plus, by doing it at home, you can control the contents for healthier snacking while you continue to save on your grocery bill.
Breana Orland is a writer for College Grants. Breana also gives advice on the pursuit of higher education and career options for young adults.