Healthy Raspberry Ice Pops to Cool the Summer Heat
Healthy raspberry ice pops are so easy to make at home. If you can make a smoothie you can easily make healthy raspberry popsicles with real fruit and just a little sweetener. Once you’ve tried your own fresh fruit ice pops you won’t ever go back to store-bought. Provided you follow the tips in this post, you won’t go wrong.
Have you ever tried to make healthy ice pops only to have the fruit juice freeze solid in the mold? So solid that you couldn’t bite it. You could only suck it. It was like a colored ice cube not a Popsicle. That describes my first attempts, as a young mom, to make healthy Popsicles for my kids. I just poured fruit juice into the mold, stuck in the stick, and froze it. Not a great outcome. I gave up for a number of years, buying commercial juice pops instead of trying for another homemade fail.
The ingredient that gives ice pops their soft, bite-able texture is sugar. And sugar isn’t the ingredient I wanted to feed my children regularly. But as a grandma, I’m reexamining my love-hate relationship with homemade ice pops and I’ve made a few discoveries.
The Science behind good ice pops
Hard ice does not make a good ice pop. An ice pop with the perfect texture will be firm but chewable. You can take a bite without it breaking your teeth nor crumbling in your mouth. Good ice pops are made soft by breaking up the crystalline structural bond between water molecules. Any ingredient that will break up the water molecules and keep them from binding together as they freeze will contribute to a softer ice pop. Some of the ingredients that break the structural bonds between water molecules include:
- Sugar or glucose
Most commercial ice pops are just flavored syrup. Paletas, the Mexican ice pops are made with fresh fruit and simple syrup, but they are still high in sugar. By adding fiber, fat, or alcohol to an ice pop recipe you can reduce the amount of sugar needed to soften the texture of the ice pop. Less sugar means healthier ice pops.
The actual amount of sugar or syrup alone needed to soften an ice pop is dependent on the sugar content of the fruit used. Sweeter fruit like blueberries or bananas requires less sugar than rhubarb, for instance, to achieve a softer ice pop. By adding other healthy ingredients like coconut milk, chia seeds, fruit or even liqueur, you can make an ice pop with the perfect texture.
In this raspberry popsicle, I used full-fat, canned coconut milk and just 2 tablespoons of maple syrup for the perfect texture of ice pop. I left the seeds in the raspberries for additional fiber. The texture of these raspberry ice pops is perfect. Easy to bite and chew, not too hard, and not soft and slushy. It’s exactly what I was aiming for.Print
Healthy raspberry ice pops made with real raspberries and canned coconut milk. Just 3 ingredients for perfect flavor and texture.
- 1 1/2 cups organic raspberries, frozen or fresh
- 1 cup organic coconut milk, canned, full fat
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- In the jar of a blender, place raspberries, coconut milk, and maple syrup. Blend on medium till the mixture is fully blended and the raspberries are pureed.
- Pour into ice pop molds. Leave about 1/4 inch head space at the top of the mold to allow ofr expansion. Freeze till firm, about 4 to 6 hours.
- To serve, run hot water over the ice pop mold for a few seconds, until the ice pop slips easily out of the mold. Serve immediately.
When making ice pops with fruit, the amount of maple syrup or sugar syrup needed will vary depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Too much sugar will make the ice pop slushy. Not enough syrup and the ice pop will be hard like an ice cube.
Keywords: Ice pops, raspberries, fresh fruit
Fresh or frozen raspberries?
You can definitely use raspberries right from the garden for this raspberry popsicle recipe. If you start with frozen raspberries your ice pops will freeze faster, so you won’t have to wait as long to try them.
This is a good recipe to use the mushy, overripe raspberries from the garden with. Those extra ripe berries will also be extra sweet and may allow you to cut the maple syrup in this recipe in half.
Can I use other fruit besides raspberries?
Yes, any summer fruit will work to make healthy ice pops. Bananas, lemons, oranges, blueberries, peaches, apricots can all make delicious frozen Popsicles. The sweeter the fruit is naturally the less syrup or sugar will need to be added to the mixture before freezing. You may need to experiment to get your Popsicles exactly right. But you can eat all of them — even the hard, icy ones. So that’s not a fail.
Try my healthy blueberry popsicles recipe for inspiration!
Can I use honey in the place of maple syrup?
Of course. You can use honey on a tablespoon for tablespoon basis in this recipe. Remember that raw honey should not be fed to children younger than 2 years of age. Honey compliments the flavors of raspberry Popsicles well.
Can I use stevia or another calorie-free sugar substitute?
Substituting the maple syrup for stevia may change the texture of the ice pop, making it harder and more like an ice cube. I haven’t tried using a calorie-free substitute for maple syrup. Try a blueberry ice pop or banana chocolate ice pop recipe if you are looking for a recipe with no sugar. If you try this recipe using stevia in the place of the maple syrup, leave a comment and let me know how it turned out.
Ice pop molds
Many containers can be used for ice pop molds. When my children were young we had Tupperware Popsicle molds with plastic one-piece sticks. The kids chewed them and we would lose them over the winter, deep in the far back of the Tupperware cupboard. I “lost” those molds in a move 15 years ago. In an effort to avoid plastic, I invested in stainless steel ice pop molds with wooden sticks like this one and this one. I don’t need to fuss about getting the sticks back. We wash and reuse the wooden sticks, but if they break or get lost, I can easily replace them with these.
You can also use up-cycled yogurt containers, paper cups, and any smooth-sided container that holds 2 to 3 ounces. If you aren’t using a dedicated Popsicle mold, you’ll need to center the stick in the mold after the ice pops have begun to freeze.
Storing Ice Pops
You can make ice pops ahead and store them in the freezer for up to 4 weeks. That’s a good idea for planning ahead for visits from the grandchildren, cousins, or sleepovers. One ice pop mold usually makes only 6 to 8 ice pops. But you can make raspberry Popsicles and store them in ice pop bags like these, so that your molds are ready for other flavors like blueberry ice pops, rhubarb ice pops, chocolate banana fudge pops, or even elderberry ice pops for sore throats.
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Break the pop and sweet tea habit with these healthier options. You’ll save money, reduce food waste, and enjoy delicious and nutritious hot and cold drinks year-round when you use herbs, garden fruit and berries, and even weeds to make healthy tea, drinks, and beverage syrups.