But for some reason this summer, the idea of popsicles- in this kind of mould and no other- took hold, and I was powerless to resist.
I blame Smitten Kitchen, which has some fine popsicle recipes, and I blame the summer heat, of course, but most of all I blame my pretty-much-yearly obsession with getting control of my sugar cravings and losing some weight, dammit. It started a little late this year, but once I got going in early July, I was on fire. I sailed through my last week in Saskatoon, and came home full of resolve.
Shortly after I got back, my landlords left town for two weeks and I was suddenly in charge of their large and bountiful veggie garden. (And their blind old cat, but I couldn't eat him.) I harvested: basil and garlic became luscious pesto. Small tomatoes found their way into my pasta. Cucumbers were hastily stuck into jars with water and cider vinegar. I walked into the alley behind our house with a bowl and fought the bees for the best blackberries. Little eggplants were roasted on the barbecue and whizzed into the food processor to become the best baba ghanouch I've ever tasted. Ah, the food processor! I've never been one for kitchen gadgets, but having access to two all of a sudden made me realize what I'd been missing. Once I'd made the pesto and the baba ghanouche (and once I'd cleaned very thoroughly, to remove the garlic-y taste), I realized that I could use them to make... popsicles.
The popsicles of my youth were unadventurous things (sorry, Mom). You got 2 choices: apple juice or orange juice. The tips of the popsicles would be super-sweet, because that's where the heaviest, thickest part of the concentrated juice would settle. And the last part of the popsicle would be more watery, and would inevitably melt into its plastic holder, causing you to slurp noisily in order to get at the last bits.
Now, I've yet to buy this book, but just glancing through it- hell, just looking at the cover- makes me realize that there are whole new worlds to conquer when it comes to popsicles. And I will. Conquer them. Just as soon as I get over these darn watermelon ones I keep making. Which I may never do.
I discovered watermelon-mint-grapefruit-lime juice earlier this summer in Saskatoon. It was cold there, very cold, for most of my stay. As in, spend money you don't have on a sweatshirt, because you didn't bring any warm clothes kind of cold. As in, Vancouver-style rain as you tried to bike home kind of cold. But then for the last week or so it finally got HOT, and on a couple days I
If possible, get a watermelon with seeds. Trust me, the big black seeds are a heck of a lot easier to remove than those annoying little white ones that are in the so-called "seedless" melons. I like the mini watermelons, as those are the perfect size for popsicle-making.
|The uneven colouring in this popsicle is because I tried|
to strain out the seeds and pulp, leaving the juice too
watery. Yes, that's a kiwi in there!
|Basic. See how much redder this one is? Not overly watery like the last guy.|
|Isn't she a beaut?|
If you're very lucky, your boyfriend will buy you a golden watermelon by mistake. You will discover that the flesh is even nicer than a regular watermelon, and makes the prettiest popsicles. Especially when you add chunks of kiwi and strawberry.
In keeping with my health kick, I don't add sugar to these. They don't need it. In fact, I find that a generous portion of lime juice adds a much-needed kick. I use over half a mini melon to make 10 popsicles, and the juice of one whole lime would not go amiss. The added fruit chunks make your popsicles look simply gorgeous, and add a sweet/tart chewiness that's delightful.
I have grand plans to make Smitten Kitchen's Strawberry Black Pepper popsicles (minus the sugar), and I'll bet you that a mango-pineapple popsicle would be divine, especially with some added heat. (Maybe cayenne? Maybe chipotle? I can't wait to try.) I've seen some recipes for cucumber-lime or cucumber-strawberry pops that sound refreshing and delicious. Next time I come back from the grocery store I promise I'll have something in my bag other than a watermelon. Thanks to my sweetie, who loaned me his fabulous food processor, my popsicle-making days don't have to be over even though my landlords are back. And if I do get stuck in a melon-y rut until the seasons change and I no longer crave ice-cold refreshment? well, there's always next year.
How good are these popsicles? Let's just say that since my 30-day no-dessert challenge came to an end, I have have had ice cream exactly twice, and both times it seemed overly sweet and far too sticky and milky, not to mention leaving me with pangs of regret and guilt. The simple, juice-packed beauty of these popsicles, on the other hand, is guilt-free. Eat as many as you want. Hell, eat all ten in one sitting if you like! Even if you do, you will simply have eaten the equivalent of part of a mini watermelon, plus some other fruits. And what could be better for you than that?