A pop a day keeps boredom away!

Today’s pop is one I’ve been plotting since about 10 minutes after I got my Zoku. Gazpacho is one of my favorite summer treats, and I thought it’d be really great to have it extra-icy. So when I finally made my first batch of gazpacho for the season, I knew I had to make the pop.

I don’t have an ingredients shot, but gazpacho contains cucumbers, onions, garlic, green pepper, parsley, red wine vinegar, tomato juice, olive oil and salt. We use the recipe in the Joy of Cooking, with some minor tweaks.

I like my gazpacho pretty smooth, so I didn’t process it any further for these ice pops. That was probably a mistake, since pouring it into the Zoku was a little tough. It all worked out, though, and no problems with sticking:

The first half of this ice pop was delightful. Cold, intense, interesting. About halfway through, though, the garlic started catching up with me and the pop went from delicious to somewhat tedious. I didn’t finish it. Much as I love gazpacho, I guess it’s better off eaten from a spoon instead of a stick.

Since I made those red, white & blue ice pops last week, I’ve been thinking about making a full-on rainbow ice pop. Trouble is, I don’t really like using artificial colors to make ice pops. I (and my kids) get enough of those in our daily allowance of Cheetos and there doesn’t seem to be much point to my adding more. So I decided that for my first try at a rainbow ice pop, I needed to at least try to make the majority of the colors come from actual juice. That means a lot of different juices:

Cherry juice for red, orange juice for obvious reasons, pineapple juice for yellow, green smoothie for green, lemonade and food coloring for blue, V-8 Fusion for purple. I decided y’all didn’t really need to see indigo.

You’ll note that there’s no blue juice there. For one thing, I ran out of the blueberry smoothie I had last week. For another, no fruit or fruit juice I”ve ever used actually comes close to the color blue I associate with the rainbow. So I abandoned my principles a little and used some blue food coloring. And while I was at it, I colored the V-8 juice for the purple, too. The actual juice, while purple-ish, had too much of a red tint for what I wanted.

The pop turned out pretty, though not as vibrant or clean as I’d wanted:

I wish the green had been a less muddy color, specifically.  But still, not bad for a pop made mostly out of unsweetened fruit juices.  One of these days, I’ll try it the artificial way just for comparison’s sake.

Sorry, y’all. I’m having a lack of inspiration/motivation. I actually have four or five pop ideas in mind; I just lack either the ingredients or drive to make them. I’ll try to be back in the swing tomorrow.

In the meantime, tell me about yourselves. Do you have a Zoku? What’s your favorite ice pop? What flavors/tricks/experiments would you like to see me try here?

I was really pleased at how cute the red, white and blue pops I made turned out, so I decided to try experimenting with other uses of food coloring in ice pops.

Lemonade, my old standby. Also food coloring.

I had this idea that I could achieve a cool tie-dyed effect in my pops by pouring the lemonade into empty molds, then dropping in some food coloring, swirling briefly with a chopstick, then placing the Zoku sticks in place. I hoped that the coloring wouldn’t dissipate quickly and would instead freeze as ribbons of color. It didn’t quite work that way:

The blue one has potential, I think.

Instead of the swirls I’d envisioned, these turned out as muddy messes. The food coloring blended into the lemonade all too quickly, except for the areas where it made nice little pools of artificial colors. They were definitely not appetizing enough to eat.

I think the coloring swirl needs to be more viscous to work.  Maybe if I thicken it with cornstarch or something?  But of course, then it would be even less appetizing.  I’m going to have to ponder this.

We’re heading home from vacation first thing in the morning, so I’m all packed up. I’ll try to update this post tomorrow with an ice pop.

Sorry, y’all, for skipping yesterday. I have no real excuse except that we’re in the final days of a really fun, really busy vacation and I spent yesterday hanging out with my family rather than making an ice pop.

Plus also, I really wanted to make another stab at red, white and blue ice pops, but I kept forgetting to borrow or buy food coloring. It wasn’t until today that I managed to pick some up.

Generally, I object to using food coloring unless it’s absolutely necessary. I figure there’s enough fake stuff in the rest of the foods we eat that I don’t need to make more. But I tried these pops with fruit juice and the colors just weren’t right. They needed a little artificiality.

I used all lemonade for these popsicles. For each of the layers I used two ounces (distributed among three ice pop molds). I used one drop of blue food coloring in the blue layer, and two drops of red in the red layer.

They came out beautiful; almost nice enough to overcome my objection to using artificial colors in an ice pop:

The cold that ripped through my family a few weeks ago has now, unfortunately, started working its way through the extended family with whom we’re spending the week. My poor sister in law needs to be on a plane tomorrow morning, and both she and her toddler are coughing and congested. So I made a honey-based tea ice pop tonight to help them feel better.

For the tea, I used a hibiscus/mixed berry blend made by my other sister in law. It’s reminiscent of Celstial Seasoning’s line of Zinger teas, but much smoother and sweeter (none of the tartness that the Zingers usually have). I mixed in a generous tablespoon of honey to make sure the pop would have a nice consistency.

I don’t have the photos ready to post yet, but the pops came out a beautiful rose color. I didn’t eat one, but I hear that the honey flavor was predominant. From where I was sitting, it seemed like a nice, soothing pop (but I’ll have to check with my sister in law).

(I left my camera in the same room as my sleeping baby, so no photos right now. I will have to edit later).

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