Frozen treats are a staple on hot summer days, but perhaps some of them shouldn’t be.

Many of them are loaded with corn syrup, artificial dyes and other ingredients that don’t evoke summertime the way fresh fruit and homemade lemonade do.

Those treats are the nutritional equivalent of a sunburn — not

the worst thing in the world but better to avoid when possible.

My efforts to keep the stickiest, sweetest of the frozen pops out of my young children’s hands included subterfuge.

For a while, I had them convinced that the snow cone truck plying the neighborhood was really the “music truck,” just someone who liked to drive around playing that catchy snow cone tune.

They believed that for most of one summer, until an outing to the band concert showed them that the music truck dispensed not only tinny tunes but also neon snow cones and a marvelous assortment of drippy concoctions precariously attached to a stick.

If only Zipzicles had been available back then. Zipzicles are tube-shaped plastic zip-bags that allow kids and parents to create their own flavors of ice pops.

Once frozen, they look just like the push-up ice pops kids love but are made in fresh flavors that rely on real fruit, yogurt and other healthy ingredients.

The Zipzicle was invented with the input of a 12-year old boy whose allergies to food dyes put commercially available frozen ice pops off limits.

The food-grade plastic tubes enable budding chefs to recreate their favorite snacks in frozen form.

Even Elvis’ signature sandwich, peanut butter and banana, can be revamped into pop form.

Fans of frozen yogurt will enjoy fruity yogurt pops made either by blending the fruit into the yogurt or by putting chunks of fruit into the bags then adding yogurt.

The cooling creations aren’t just limited to fruit. Gatorade has introduced a new line of “Sabor Nuestro” flavors aimed at the Hispanic market.

One of them is a refreshing lime-cucumber blend. Adding that to a Zipzicle tube filled with finely diced cucumbers makes a sweet 20-calorie treat.

Frozen pops aren’t just for snack time. Mixing granola, fruit and yogurt into a frozen treat makes it a convenient hand-held breakfast.

Pops with cereal mixed in don’t harden as evenly as the liquid-based ones, so they hold together much better in the plastic Zipzicle tubes than in the molds with a stick handle — though those work well for yogurt or juice pops.

Early-morning pops can also be made from coffee, either black or with lots of cream and even a shot of chocolate syrup.

Or, instead of chocolate syrup, mini chocolate chips make a crunchy mix in.

Caffeine-laced pops might be the way to start the day, but when happy hour rolls around, adults might find that some of their favorite beverages, such as margaritas and whiskey sours, fare well in frozen form.

In addition to being more portable and discreet, adult drinks in pop form have the advantage of portion control, since a typical pop mold holds three to four ounces, much smaller than the average frozen drink.

Zipzicle bags for homemade ice pops are available at retailers specializing in children’s merchandise and online at zipzicle.com.


Strawberry Basil Margarita Pops

SERVES: 12

  • 12-ounce can frozen limeade concentrate
  • 12 fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 8 leaves fresh basil
  • 1-2 cups gold tequila, optional
  • 12 Zipzicle bags
  • In large pitcher, make the limeade with water as per directions on the can. Add the strawberries and basil. Add tequila to taste and stir.

Cover and place in refrigerator for 24 hours.

Stir again and fill 12 Zipzicle ice-pop molds to fill line. Freeze upright.

NOTE: Depending on the alcohol content, they may not freeze entirely solid.

(SOURCE: Recipe from Zipzicles)


Fruit and Yogurt Pops

SERVES: 4

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, strawberries or pitted cherries
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 (5-ounce) paper cups
  • Aluminum foil
  • 4 sticks

Put the yogurt, fruit (slightly thawed if using frozen) and honey into a blender and blend to desired consistency. Pour the fruit mixture into paper cups, filling each about three-quarters full.

Cover each cup with foil. Make a small slit in the middle of each foil cover. Insert the sticks into foil and freeze cups until solid, about 5 hours.

When ready to eat, peel off paper cups and eat.

(SOURCE: Recipe from Whole Foods Market)


Nutty Banana Pops

SERVES: 4-6

  • 2 fresh bananas
  • 3⁄4 cup milk or cream
  • 1⁄2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1⁄2 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  • 6 Zipzicle bags
  • Peel and slice the bananas and place them in a blender. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

Pinching the top of the Zipzicle bag open, fill the bags to just under fill the line. Closed the bags and place in the freezer in an upright position

NOTE: The pops can also be made in pop molds or paper cups and frozen; will make four 4-ounce pops.

(SOURCE: Recipe from Zipzicles)

 

Bernice Torregrossa is a correspondent for The Daily News

 

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