Fresh Squeezed Citrus Popsicles (all natural, sugar free) ~ these have to be the ultimate summer treat, and you can indulge without an ounce of guilt!
Last year I never got around to buying a popsicle mold and it was an endless source of frustration for me. Everywhere I turned there was another colorful creative pop post and without a mold I was powerless to join in the fun. I was feeling pretty crabby by the end of the summer, and I vowed to get an early start this year, so here I am, better late than never. For the test batch in my new popsicle mold I’m going with the most basic of basics— fresh juice.
Citrus pops like these are the kind we had in our freezer when I was growing up. But all I ever had was plain lemon and orange. So before citrus season is officially over I wanted to capture the colors and flavors of some of the more unusual varieties that we won’t see for much longer in the stores…Cara Cara, blood orange, Meyer lemon, Pomelo…I figure if I make and store away a bunch of these popsicles I’ll be able to revisit these wonderful fruits long after they’ve disappeared from the shelves. And where else could I get a pomelo pop?
Sometimes I’ll make something just to gawk at it. In this case I wanted to see the subtle variations of citrus-y hues all together. I got a very satisfying array from the palest yellow to a deep orange, with pinks and salmons in between. The icy yellow-green lime was the outlier.
It can he tricky finding a good popsicle mold. In my local stores all I could find were rocket ships, or ones with clunky plastic handles. I like this one because it’s sturdy and has the classic shape. I recommend getting one early in the season because, if you’re reading this post, you most likely read other blogs, and I’m telling you you’re going to be sorely tempted with incredible popsicles throughout the spring and, summer. I know, I’ve been there. If you have kids at home, it’s a must. If you like frozen cocktails, ditto.
I used a little simple syrup in the case of the very sour lemon and lime, but otherwise I left the juice alone to capture the essence of the fresh fruit flavor. My mold makes 10 popsicles so I made ten different varieties: Cara Cara orange, juice orange, blood orange, sour orange, tangerine, Meyer lemon, regular lemon, lime, Ruby Red grapefruit, and pomelo. In the weeks to come I’ll experiment with added flavors, spirits, etc, but it’s nice to know that plain juice makes an incredible tasting pop.
I liked them all, and if I have to choose, the Ruby Red grapefruit and the tangerine might be my favorites. But the lime was intense and wonderful, the Cara Cara orange was subtle and sweet, there wasn’t a dud in the bunch. Just as the colors were each a little different from the next, the flavors were too. Yes you could just pour ready made orange juice into these molds and make popsicles, but you’d get a flat, boring pop. These tasted like a fresh pieces of fruit.
The only learning curve with this was making sure not to fill the molds right to the tippy top, so the popsicles have a little room to expand as they freeze and so you can remove the lid easily.
A quick dip in hot water and the popsicles slide right out. Definitely not rocket science. Photographing them before they start to melt is a challenge, but most of you won’t have that issue. Package them in zip lock baggies or wrap in waxed paper to store.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that, at 1/4 cup capacity, there isn’t much you could put in one of these popsicle molds that would make it that unhealthy. So I say, let’s have fun and enjoy them. I’ll be back with more, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.
I know I don’t need to tell you how much fun this can be. And the variations are literally mind boggling. Just have a look at my Pinterest popsicle board if you doubt it…
Fresh Squeezed Citrus Popsicles
- 3 cups fresh citrus juice, your choice (lemon, orange, grapefruit, lime, etc.)
For the simple syrup:
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- Juice your fruit. You can either strain out the pulp, or leave it in, but be sure to remove any seeds. If the juice is sweet, no need for added sweetener, just pour into the mold. Leave a little room at the top for expansion.
- If the juice is sour, add a little simple syrup. Taste as you go, and then fill your mold.
- Fit the top on your mold and insert popsicle sticks. Freeze until solid, abou 8 hours, or overnight.
- To un-mold your pops, first remove the lid. Fill your sink with hot water, and briefly dip the mold into the water, just up to, but not past, the top lip.
- Slide each pop out and serve immediately or wrap in plastic or waxed paper and put back in the freezer.
For the simple syrup:
- Put the sugar and water in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 3-4 minutes and then turn off the heat and let it cool. Store any leftover simple syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator.