Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Lick your Vegetables. Make Popsicles.

When the thermometer in Ottawa recently hit 36.3˚, a few degrees short of a record, I was looking for things to serve at a dinner party that avoided turning on the oven.  It was either that or have my guests run through the sprinkler.

Inspiration struck when I was picking herbs in my garden and noticed my neighbour handing her kids home made popsicles.  Ding!  Why not serve some vegetable juice popsicles as a first course?

A bit of digging in the basement and found my classic popsicle moulds, a remnant from years ago when I would baby sit my young niece. These popsicle molds typically come with little red holders but I went with white lollipop sticks to make them more chic.  You can buy the sticks at Bulk Barn or Michaels.

I'm lucky enough to have a juicer but if you don't have one, you can always buy pre-made juice from a natural food shop or have a juice bar make some for you.  

If you'd like to be creative with the shape and try something fun, Silpat makes many pastry moulds that you can use and the good news is that the popsicles can be popped out easily after they're frozen. 

Vegetable juicer or food processor with an attachment to make juice
Popsicle form or Silpat form
Large lollipop sticks or holders.  I recommend you don't use wooden popsicle sticks because they taste strongly of wood.

Prepare the Juice

Suggested flavours:
Bunny: Carrot 
Asian Bunny:   Carrot, ginger
Red Head:  beet, carrot, fennel.
Garden Gate:  Snap pea, carrot.
Mexican Fiesta:  Tomato, celery, coriander root and red pepper.
Gazpacho:  Tomato, cucumber, red pepper, and celery.

You can also layer the popsicles by using several different coloured juices and freezing them layer by layer. Try it with the Red Head since these are three flavours that taste great on their own.

Use any flavour you think would match the other things you're serving or one that would please your guests.  If you are using a standard popsicle maker like in the photo, each receptacle holds 1/4 cup (50ml) (50g) of liquid.

For other moulds, measure the volume with water and multiply the amount by the number of popsicles you want to serve.

Three hours or more before serving, pour the juice into each receptacle until 3/4 full.  Freeze for about 1.5 hours and check the set.  Insert one of your popsicle sticks.  If it doesn't stand straight up, freeze for another 15 minutes and try again.  Once the sticks are in, leave to freeze solid.
To remove the popsicles from the classic forms, you can wrap your hand around each one individually and pull.

To serve, you can hand one to each guest but for a more formal presentation, Like in the top photo, fill a deep glass with rice and stick the popsicle stick into it.


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