The trick to making great ice pops is finding fruits that are naturally very sweet and blend well. These fruits become the base for the ice pops. The ones I've used are: mangoes, grapes, oranges and pineapple. Very ripe bananas are quite sweet. However, they have a strong taste and can overpower if not used carefully. For that reason, not all kids like bananas when used as a sweetener (including mine). Fruits like strawberries and blueberries are less sweet and can be used to add an extra flavor or texture, but not as the base. For extra texture, you can even put them in the fruit pops whole or sliced if your family will enjoy that.
Texture and Spice
The texture of the ice pop is filled possibilities. You can puree everything to a smooth texture, keep chunks of fruit in the pop, or even keep the fruit whole. It really depends on what your family likes. In addition, you don't have to limit yourself to just fruit: add seeds, nuts, or whatever other funky addition you think of. Finally, if you want to get REALLY funky, try adding some heat, like jalapenos or some cayenne pepper. The possibilities are truly ENDLESS. This is a perfect opportunity to get creative and just have fun.
Ice Pop Removal
Believe it or not, this can be tricky. I wish I'd had someone to explain the ins and outs of removing an ice pop before the first time. I tried removing the ice pops, only the stick came out. The rest stayed frozen solid in the container and I had to pry them out with a knife. I later learned that you have to run water over the ice pop you are trying to remove. I found it best to use warmer water. After that, you will feel the pop loosen and you can take it out--stick, pop and all! It may take only a few seconds sometimes; other times I've found it to take more than a few seconds, like a minute. You may need to experiment, but eventually you will get the hang of it.
Mango Pineapple Ice Pops
These ice pops are truly delicious and my kids loved them. So did I! Hope you do, too.
1 large mango, peeled and sliced
1/2 can (15 oz.) of pineapple plus the juice
Place fruit in a blender or food processor. Grind until the fruit is the consistency you want.
Put the mixture into ice pop containers. Freeze until solid.
To remove: put ice pops container under warm running water for about 20 seconds. The pops will loosen and come out easily.
Pineapple Grape Orange Ice Pops
1/4 bag of green grapes
1/4 fresh pineapple cut into cubes or 1/2 15-oz can of pineapple with juice
Put grapes and pineapple with the juice in the blender or food processor and puree.
Cut the fruit sections out of the oranges, leaving the membrane behind. Or you can just juice the oranges and add the juice to the mixture. Add to the grapes and pineapples and puree to the consistency you want.
Pour mixture into 4 ice pop containers. Freeze until ice pops are solidly frozen.
To remove: Run warm water over the container for a few seconds. You should feel the ice pops loosen and then you can easily remove them.