Not your toddler’s Rainbow Popsicles — these healthy frozen treats are made with exotic fruits like mango, dragon fruit, papaya, golden kiwi and black raspberry to tempt the most sophisticated palates.
Can you tell I love color? One look at my recipe index tells the story, I love colorful food, the bolder and brighter the better. Natural color in food signifies flavor, nutrients, freshness and vitality so I say bring it on. These fruity Rainbow Popsicles are a frosty celebration of all that. Each bright stripe is a puree of ripe summer fruit that I layer up in random order just for fun. You can limit yourself to one or two, or go all out like I did.
This is one part art project, one part recipe. When it’s too hot to be outside, this is a fun way to pass the time, and when you’re finished you’ll have the world’s prettiest (and healthiest!) treat.
Since I’m working with relatively small amounts of each ingredient for these rainbow popsicles I use my mini food processor — it’s a breeze to get all my fruits pureed and I just rinse the bowl out between batches. All kinds of fruit can be pureed and frozen so there’s no need to stick to the same old same old. Farmers markets and even your produce section is a wonderland of varieties if you’re open to experimentation. Right now there are lots of different melons and stone fruit in season, but there’s always something new to try if you keep an eye out.
TIP: For sharply defined stripes, make sure your purees are chilled and each layer is frozen solid before you add the next. Rap the mold sharply on the counter after you add each layer to even it out. And finally, use vividly colored fruit to get the best effect. I like to use at least one green (kiwi or honeydew) one very pale or white fruit (dragon fruit, coconut) a couple of vivid fruits (raspberry, papaya) and finally at least one deeper tone (blueberry, blackberry) so you get a nice variation of shades.
My popsicles are made with papaya, mango, dragon fruit, golden kiwi, both black and red raspberries and honeydew melon. This is a great way to use up leftover fruit since you really only need one piece for each layer.
TIP: The colors of some fruit like blueberries and blackberries can be too dark to show up when they’re pureed. In that case I’ll add a little bit of yogurt or coconut milk to the puree to bring out the color.
There isn’t a person on the planet who can resist these fun pops and luckily they couldn’t be better for you because there’s nothing in them but pure fruit. Fruit supplies natural sugar in the form of fructose, along with plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They’re the perfect finale for a picnic or barbecue…and I guarantee they’ll get lots of oohs and aahs.
TIP: I don’t use the top that comes with my popsicle mold because it can sometimes be tricky to remove after the popsicles have frozen. Instead, I put a piece of foil over the top and poke the popsicle sticks through. The foil keeps the sticks straight while the popsicles freeze, and tears away easily when they are completed.
Here are a few other suggestions for slightly off-beat fruits to try for these popsicles…
- plums and pluots
- peaches or nectarines (leave the skins on for a mottled effect)
- grapes, especially concord (be sure to strain out the seeds after you puree)
- passion fruit
TIP: I use a funnel to layer the purees neatly and easily into the popsicle mold. I clean up any stray splatters from the inside of the mold before moving on to the next layer. If the puree is too thick to go through the funnel, thin it with a little water.
These pops are a variation on my original Whole Fruit Popsicles from a couple of years ago. I also did a similar striped pop using fresh juice in place of the puree, here. With the record heat we’ve been having it just makes sense to cool down with healthy fruit popsicles…skip the ice cream and layer up!
TIP: When you remove the popsicles from the mold, don’t immerse it for longer than a few seconds at a time in the hot water or your popsicles will start to melt and they won’t look as sharp. Check to see if they will slide out after 6 seconds, if not, try just a few second more.
- 1/2 ripe papaya
- 1 ripe mango
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1 cup black raspberries or blackberries
- 1/2 honeydew melon
- 1 dragon fruit
- Scoop the seeds from the papaya and than scoop out the flesh. Puree in a small food processor until smooth.
- Peel the mango with a serrated peeler and slice the meat from around the large pit. Cut in chunks and puree.
- Puree the the red and black berries.
- Cut the honeydew in chunks and puree.
- Cut the dragonfruit in half and scoop out the flesh. Puree.
- It's helpful but not essential to chill all the purees.
- Put the first layer in the bottom of each of 10 popsicle molds. This layer can be as thick or as thin as you like. You can make identical popsicles or mix and match the order of your stripes. Put the mold in the freezer and freeze until the first layer is solid --- approximately 1 1/2 hours.
- Set down your second layer, and then cover the top of the mold tightly with foil. Make a tiny slit in the center of each opening with the tip of a sharp knife, and then slide a popsicle stick in. Freeze again for 1 1/2 hours.
- After the second layer is frozen and your sticks are set, you can remove the foil. Continue to layer the popsicles until they are full.
- To remove the popsicles fill your sink with hot tap water and immerse the mold up to, but not over, the top lip of the mold for about 6 seconds. If the popsicles don't slide out, immerse it for a few more seconds. Use immediately or wrap in plastic and return to the freezer.
- Make all the fruit purees ahead of time and make your popsicles a day or two later if you need to. Just keep the purees covered in the refrigerator.
- For an ombre effect, choose fruits in one color family, like orange, pineapple, mango and papaya.
- I don’t recommend using frozen fruit because the re-freezing process will affect its taste and texture.
don’t forget to pin it!