Popsicles are so, so much more than a summertime treat. Think about it: you eat ice cream year round, don’t you? The ice cream truck may not get around much once the temperature dips below sixty degrees, but the seasons will never dictate when it is appropriate to have a freezer full of Ben & Jerry’s.
So who’s to say you can’t enjoy an apple cider popsicle on a crisp autumn day, a lavender lemonade popsicle at a sunny springtime picnic, or a chilly champagne popsicle on New Year’s Eve? What’s stopping you from running off into the kitchen and making some right now? Nothing, that’s what. You only need molds or paper cups, popsicle sticks, and a little imagination. That’s all it takes to have you swimming in popsicles 365 days a year. Here's what you need to know.
Choose Your Mold
First, consider your mold. If you’ve chosen to live a popsicle-rich life, you should buy a set of reusable molds. These come in all sorts of fun shapes and sizes, and, truly, you should buy whichever one makes you the absolute happiest. You can buy space-age ones at a fancy kitchenware store, or fun ones that look like zombies or dinosaurs or whatever others can be found in various corners of the internet. The only requirement of a popsicle mold is that it makes you smile.
How to Make a Mold From Scratch
If you’re merely popsicle-curious and aren’t ready to commit to a dedicated set of molds, you can make them the old fashioned way. First, buy some paper cups that, in your own estimation, are the perfect size for popsicle-making (there will be no size-shaming here). Also, purchase yourself some wooden popsicle sticks, and a roll of strong aluminum foil.
Set as many cups as you wish inside of a small baking pan or plastic container with a flat bottom, to help keep them upright in the freezer, and then fill them up, leaving about ⅛-inch of headspace. Cut individual squares of aluminum foil to cover the cups, then use a sharp knife to puncture a hole to slide the wooden sticks through. Ta-da! Homemade popsicle molds!
How to Make Homemade Popsicles
What sort of liquids can you make popsicles from? Well, if you like drinking it, you can probably turn it into a popsicle. Plain fruit juices are a great base to work from: you can make them rich and creamy by blending with sweetened condensed milk, blend them with fresh fruit to create something a bit more substantial, or mix them into mocktail-inspired pops. You could make a few cups of your favorite coffee drink, brew up some strong sweet tea, or make yourself a tall pitcher of strong mouth-puckering lemonade.
One general rule to remember: cold foods numb your tongue a bit, which means that when you’re making your base, amp up the flavors as much as you can. Add enough sugar to make it taste “just a little too sweet.”
If you want intense fruit flavor, stir in some fresh or frozen fruit puree. Add a pinch or two of salt. If you want to add a shot of booze, a little bit of that wouldn’t hurt; that being said, alcohol itself doesn’t freeze, so it always needs to be mixed with liquids that can. If you’d like to use hard liquor, use it sparingly; for wine and beer, try blending with juice or fresh fruit.