DIY ice lolly recipes - no special equipment needed!
What could be nicer on a hot day than an ice cold lolly straight from the freezer, packed with natural fruit and flavour?
Besides the sheer enjoyment of eating, there are so many reasons to try out one of these ice lolly recipes:
>> the project will keep the kids amused for an hour or two,
>> it's a way to get another of their five-a-day into them without fuss (or unnecessary sugar),
>> you can indulge your tastebuds with any combos you like (Herbs! Yummy coconut milk! Dried fruit! Chocolate! Nuts! Spices!),
>> you can use up a glut of seasonal fruit or any that's passing its best, and
>> your ice lollies will keep in the freezer for a month, so they're ideal for treating kids every now and again.
Collecting the makings...
As we promised, you won't need to invest in any special equipment in order to make these lollies - in fact, we recommend that you don't as more than likely any plastic lolly set will end up languishing annoyingly at the back of a junk cupboard for 50 weeks of the year, such is our British summer! Avoid bringing in clutter and DIY your own moulds from stuff you already have.
Big ice cube trays, clean yoghurt pots, silicone muffin cases, mini baking tins or small paper or plastic cups left over from parties will all work a treat as lolly moulds. Don't have any of these? Brilliantly, a loaf tin also works, though you'll have to do a bit of chopping once the lollies have set.
Source some wooden lolly sticks, rigid plastic straws or similar 'handles' to facilitate the licking of your lollies, and grab a roll of cling film. Lastly, you'll need some freezer bags or non-stick baking paper for storage.
Choosing your ingredients...
The simple recipe involves a base (such as water, milk, cream, yoghurt or non-dairy equivalents) mixed with a fruit and a sweetener (usually sugar, however you can use honey, agave nectar and other sugar substitutes if you wish).
Bear in mind that your ice lolly mixture will taste sweeter than the frozen result; beware though, too much sugar will stop the lollies freezing properly!
To minimise the amount of sugar you may need to add to your lollies, choose the very ripest fruit you can. Experienced lolly makers look for the overripe fruit being sold off cheaply at the greengrocers - a few bruises and a bit of mushiness are fine, just avoid any mould!
More 'avant garde' lolly makers may wish to experiment with their flavours by adding herbs, spices, nuts, chocolate or even dried fruit to the mix. We recommend trying out one of the recipes listed at the bottom of this blog post before you get creative, just so you can get the feel of quantities first.
The basic ice lolly plan...
Fill your moulds with the ice lolly mixture, leaving space for the mix to expand when it freezes. Don't add the sticks yet. Simply cover the exposed top with cling film and place into the freezer.
After a couple of hours, remove your half-frozen lollies and pierce a small hole in the cling film where you want your 'handles' to fit. Insert the lolly stick through the hole and then place back into the freezer.
When your lollies are fully frozen, place the base of the mould in a shallow bowl of warm water for 30 seconds or until the ice lolly slides out cleanly. Wrap each lolly in a freezer bag or non-stick baking paper and freeze again for at least half an hour or until you're ready to eat them! Wrapped up in this way, your lollies will last about a month before they start to lose their flavour.
Ice lolly recipe ideas for kids...
Ice lolly recipe ideas for grown-ups...
Yes, you can make alcoholic ice lollies, though the alcohol doesn't freeze so follow the recipe and go sparingly unless you want boozy slush. (You may want boozy slush - it's been a long summer!)
Do you like the sound of these recipes? Are you thinking of making your own ice lollies at home or are you already a veteran ice lolly maker? Share your thoughts and tips with us here or via Twitter and Facebook!