Are you ready to make some paletas?
I can hear you wondering out loud, what are paletas???
Hold your horses.
Paletas are Mexican ice pops, typically made with fresh fruit. A popular street food also sold at shops called paleterias, some pops are sweet, but others include a bit of heat with chiles. If you love ice pops, you’d love paletas too!
I try not to include recipes here that require special equipment. However, I’ve had so much fun making my own ice pops this summer that I had to share. I also included alternatives to juice extractors and ice pop molds.
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves
3 cups of peeled and seeded watermelon cues
1/2 peeled cucumber
1 peeled lime
A pinch of kosher salt
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Number of servings: 10 pops
- In a small saucepan, heat the water and sugar over medium-high heat while you stir to dissolve sugar
- Once the mixture comes to a boil, remove it from the heat
- Rub the mint leaves between your palms to release the flavor, then drop them into the saucepan – cover and allow to steep for 15 minutes
- Strain using a mesh sieve and refrigerate until chilled
- If you will be using wooden sticks, now is an excellent time to set them in warm water. This helps keep them in place while the pops are setting
- Meanwhile, feed the watermelon cubes, cucumber and lime through a juice extractor. You will have about 2 to 2-1/2 cups of fresh juice
- Place the juice in a bowl. Add the chilled mint syrup and stir to combine
- Add a pinch of salt and stir once again. I like to use a measuring cup with a spout like these to make filling the molds easy. I used standard 2.5 oz. pop molds. I love the classic ice cream bar shape, and the serving size is perfect, too
- Fill the pop molds making sure to leave a little room for expansion at the top
- Remove the sticks from the warm water and place them, ending about 2/3 the way down the mold.
- Set the pops in the coldest part of your freezer (for me, this is the pull-out drawer top rack of my bottom freezer model. If you have a turbo-freeze feature, now is an excellent time to use it.) The pops will take about 4 hours to freeze fully. I like to make them overnight, so I’m not exactly sure how long it takes
- To unmold the pops, run the mold under warm water for a few seconds. They should slide right out of the molds
- Store pops in freezer bags or a sealable freezer-safe container. They should last a solid week in the freezer before starting to form ice crystals
I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that they won’t last a week (if your kids or friends are anything like ours). Enjoy!
Use a blender if you don’t have an extractor. You will need to cut the cucumber into chunks first. Instead of using the peeled lime, add the juice of one lime. Once you have pureed the watermelon, cucumber and lime juice, add the chilled syrup and pulse again. This mixture will be a bit chunkier than the juice extractor variety. You will proceed with filling the molds from here.
No molds? Don’t fret. You can use small cups or even muffin tins instead. To get the sticks to stand up straight, let the pops become slushy in the freezer first, then use a piece of foil fitted over the top to hold them in place. The sticks will poke out from the foil.
If you are looking for an alternative breakfast drink, I recommend doubling the watermelon, cucumber and lime. Reserve about 2-1/2 cups for your pops, then chill the rest to drink when you’d like! I recently had a glass of this juice after a workout, which was a lovely way to start the day.
There you go! With fresh fruits as the active ingredients, this recipe is a healthy snack for everyone.
For more great recipes from Alicia, follow her blog Weekly Greens or follow her on Instagram at @aliciasokol
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