healthy DIY popsicles to beat the heat

Just before the once-in-a-thousand-years heatwave hit the Pacific Northwest, I wrote about beating the heat with a blender and a freezer. (And my beloved watermelon gazpacho recipe.)

Today I want to talk a little more about the freezer half of that duo — before the next heatwave rolls in.

Healthy DIY popsicles had been on my mind for a couple of years, but pandemic life moved a lot of making-things to the foreground. Anticipating a long, hot summer, I ordered a 6-popsicle silicone mold, basically like a deep ice-cube tray you stick sticks into.

For my first attempt, I blended up watermelon and spearmint from my garden. No water, no sweetener, nothing else. The hardest part of the process was creating a flat spot in my full freezer.

The first popsicle I tasted was crazy sweet. If I’d gotten these from the store, I would have checked the label for added sugar. But no, just watermelon, mint and freezer time.

One of the great things about home-made popsicles is that you have total control, and can use whatever ingredients you like. For something less sweet, you could freeze tea or blended veggies.

DIY popsicles also are a great vehicle for administering herbal remedies — tea, tincture or blended  or flower essences. Just stir them into whatever you’re freezing, and they’ll be part of the cool treat.

As COVID cases climb during what was supposed to be a summer of actual relief, think too about making elderberry popsicles. (Note that no studies yet show that elderberry helps with COVID-19, but research does show it can help with colds and flus.)

Just cook up your fresh or dried berries, add whatever other herbs and spices you’d like, strain, cool and freeze. Syrups and elixirs depend on sugar and sometimes alcohol to prevent spoilage. You can minimize or skip the sweets if you’re preserving by freezing.

Want more beat-the-heat freezer tips? Check out my third entry in this series for more hot-summer freezer tricks.


—Dr. Orna