Sorry I skipped yesterday’s pop. We have family in town, and I ended up too tired from hanging out with everyone to make an ice pop. But I’m back today.
Even better, my sister-in-law came bearing
ice pop fodder gifts, in the form of really interesting tea from India:
What is tulsi, you ask? Good question. I didn’t know either. Luckily, the package had some information:
In case you can’t read this, Tulsi is a kind of basil, known in India for its healing properties.
I brewed up a cup of tea and squeezed in a good tablespoon of honey, let it cool and poured my pops. They turned out a very nice honey color (go figure).
These were by far my favorite of the tea-based ice pops I’ve made. They were a little on the sweet side, but the honey gave them a nice consistency. And the tea itself had just enough of the spice of ginger to make them interesting. I didn’t really taste any flavor that I could identify as the tulsi, but still it was a really nice ice pop. A second round of these might be just the thing we need when the temperature hits 104 degrees tomorrow.
Horrors, y’all! I forgot to turn off my camera last night when I pulled the photos off of it, and when I went to make today’s pop, my camera was dead. So no photos in today’s post. You’re just going to have to use your imaginations.
Anyway, I made an amazing sangria today (this one). It was lovely and delicious and, well, I’m a cheap date these days. So I decided to make a nice, sedate ice pop tonight.
I used Mint Medley tea, sugar and a hefty splash of lemon juice. I’ve never actually made mint tea before, and I was startled to see it brew up red. I wasn’t sure about how much sugar to add — I needed enough to made the pop biteable, but not so much that it would taste horrible.
As the pop froze, the red color changed to a very pretty rosy pink. It looked nice, but there’s something odd about mint flavor in a pink pop.
Not that there was much mint flavor on display. Once frozen, this pop was all about the lemon. The first few bites were refreshing and pleasant, but it quickly wore thin. I didn’t finish it. Next time, I think I’ll brew the tea stronger and skip the lemon entirely.
Today’s pop isn’t so great from an originality perspective, but it was exactly what I needed today. I’ve been repainting a hutch (my first try at refinishing furniture) and I spent the evening in a hot garage applying a coat of wax to it. So I wanted today’s pop to be simple and very refreshing. This seemed likely to fit the bill:
Usually, I don’t drink sweetened iced tea, but I have a soft spot in my heart for peach tea. I went through a phase in high school where I was obsessed with Lipton’s peach tea and drank one almost every day, so it’s kind of a nostalgic flavor for me.
In pop form, it turns out to be very nice. The sweetness was blunted, leaving just a really good peach flavor. Exactly what the doctor ordered today.
So yesterday, while I was making my Arnold Palmer ice pop, I decided to get a little naughty. I decided to see what would happen if I tried to make an ice pop out of unsweet tea (as it’s known here in the south. Everywhere else, it’s just called “iced tea.”)
I know, the Zoku Ice Pop Maker manual must warn a million times that you are not to put unsweetened liquids in the Zoku, but like a toddler in front of a hot stove, I had to see for myself. So I did.
What can I say? I'm a rebel.
As I waited for the pops to freeze, I pondered what would happen. Would trying to remove the pop break its stick? Would nothing happen at all? Once it was finally frozen (10 minutes is a long time when you’ve got the patience of a 5-year-old), I applied my pop remover thingy with much anticipation.
It came out! No problems, no hassle.
Now, if you read yesterday’s post, you know that unsweet tea doesn’t so much work inside an ice pop, because the texture is, well, like ice. And so it was with this pop. Still, I can see it being nice on a hot day to have an ice pop you can suck on, even if you can’t really bite it.
This opens up a whole new world of pop possibilities.
The Arnold Palmer is my favorite beverage for a summer afternoon. Not too sweet (at least, not the way I drink it), nice and cold, and just the right amount of caffeine. So there was no doubt I’d be making it into an ice pop.
Some people also add mint and/or simple syrup. I'm too lazy for that (though I totally wouldn't put it past me to make one of these with mint at some point and pass it off as a "new" pop).
Of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone and so I decided to make this a core pop, rather than just mixing the lemonade and tea and freezing the mixture.
Because my tea was unsweetened, I made it the inner layer of the pop. I let them lemonade freeze rather longer than I would have if I were making a regular core pop, because I wanted the two flavors to be in rough balance.
The inside view.
Turns out, by making this a core pop, I was too clever by half. The lemonade layer was nice, with the soft, bitable texture I’ve come to expect from my Zoku pops. The tea layer was hard. Really, really hard. Like ice, actually.
I know, right? Who’d have thought? Turns out the injunction against freezing unsweetened liquids in the Zoku isn’t just about the possibility of the pops sticking (more on that tomorrow). It’s about the totally inedible texture of the resulting pops.
Next time, I’ll keep it simple.
I’m sick. Bleh. It’s one of those colds that just comes on suddenly — one minute you’re fine, the next minute your throat is on fire. So I decided to make lemons into lemonade and make an ice pop to make myself feel better.
Lemon-ginger herbal tea, honey
Now, as I have mentioned before, I tend to dislike pre-making ingredients for ice pops. But for today I made an exception. I set the tea to steep before I put the baby to bed, then chilled it for an hour or so before making my pop. While it was still hot, I mixed in about a tablespoon of honey. If I had been making the tea to drink, I would have used just a fraction of that amount but I wanted to make sure that the base was sweet enough not to stick to the Zoku.
I did not expect to like these pops. They’re “medicine,” after all. And frankly, I really don’t enjoy the tea I used to make them. But the pops surprised me — they were really tasty and they really did soothe my throat a little. Who knew the Zoku could be practical, as well as fun?
As of yesterday, I think I was the last person in the country who hadn’t read The Help. It wasn’t for lack of trying — I’ve been on the list at the library forever, but due to demand and budget cuts, I’m still nowhere near the top.
Anyway, yesterday, my Mother-in-Law loaned me her copy, and I dove right it. If you’ve read it, you know that it’s a quick and absorbing read. so absorbing, in fact, that I stayed up until 2 am to finish it. Oops. Nor the smartest move for a woman with an infant who averages 3-4 hours of sleep a night in the first place.
This is all a long way of explaining why 8:30 pm found me passed out on the sofa. The Husband gently shook me awake to ask if I’d done my ice pop yet. I shot up with a curse, but he said I could go back to sleep; today he’d be in charge of popmaking.
This is what he made:
Apparently, he started with just the V-8, but it was too sweet. So he tried to cut it with the lemonade, but it was still too sweet, so he made some tea and mixed that in.
The resulting pop was great. The tea added a nice dry edge, while the juice flavor and sweetness still shone through. It tasted very similar to Red Zinger tea.
The Husband hit this one out of the park. Guess I should stop swatting him away every time he approaches the Zoku.