Where I come from they say that summer begins on July 5th.
It’s because up until that point, the PNW climate is cunning and unpredictable. The only constant being that we are constantly wondering when the sun will return. It’s always after the holiday…
This year we made it out relatively unscathed, and in my humble opinion, the forecast has been pretty wonderful (and hot) around here since early spring.
Bring on the summer and all of it’s splendid heat!
Since most don’t fuss with A/C on my side of the state, it’s always fun to see how creatively we can stay cool in our 1-2 weeks of hot, hot heat. As summertime is the foodie’s season; it is the BEST time to gorge on nature’s bounty. There are no limits when it comes to garden fresh veggies, herbs and fruit. There are so many amazing things one can do with the gifts of the summer season. Food can be a great way to cool the body, and some of my favorite homemade summer treats include herbal sun tea, herb and fruit popsicles, sangria, and lots and lots of caprese salad!
I have had many experiments with popsicles of all varieties, but my favorites always include herbs, fresh fruit and wine. Don’t fret my friend, if wine is not your thing, you can always sub vodka or gin–just kidding… omit the booze if you please. The popsicles are just as lovely and refreshing without it. 🙂
For those of you who do imbibe, you are probably familiar with how awesome alcohol is at NOT freezing. That is why a good rule of thumb is to use no more than 20% alcohol in your popsicle so you can get a nicely frozen treat. The addition of the alcohol adds a velvety element to the texture of the popsicle, which I think is dreamy on a hot summer’s day.
I don’t really have a brilliant scientific formula for making these, but I will share my method and what has worked for me– then it’s your turn to be the popsicle genius…
- Popsicle molds
(Alternatively, you could use dixie cups and popsicle sticks)
- ripe summer fruit
- herbal tea, kombucha, lemonade, limeade, or juice
- wine (optional)
I started with a big bowl of spent strawberries from the garden. I mashed them them thoroughly until I had a bowl of pulpy strawberries and liquid.
I filled my mini food processor, (love that thing!), with half strawberries and half merlot. (Not my favorite variety, but I have a bunch of it left over from my sis’ wedding, so that’s what I used. It goes great with the strawberries though!)
In popsicle molds, I filled them halfway with wine/strawberry mix, and the other half with my herbal sun tea. I made some with wine, berries and kombucha in lieu of the tea and they were phenomenal as well!
My tea mix that day was lemon balm, bee balm, lavender, rosehip, raspberry leaf, and strawberry leaf thrown willy-nilly into a jar and solar-infused.
*I always use dried herbs for my sun tea, because I find that the fresh herbs don’t infuse as well unless I add boiling water, which defeats the purpose of sun tea. I grew and dried all of the herbs, with the exception of the rosehip, which I bought at Mountain Rose Herbs.
(A great source for dried herbs for tea and other medicinal purposes is Mountain Rose Herbs. High quality, wildcrafted, organic, and sustainable. Click Here to see what they have to offer).
**If you are not using wine, just fill your popsicle mold halfway to 2/3 full with mashed/pulverized fruit and top off with your liquid of choice. (See above list).
Freeze those little beauties and wait patiently…
- Canteloupe, mango, green tea
- Raspberry, pinot noir, hibiscus tea
- Watermelon, lime, strawberry-mint tea (my favorite!)
- Watermelon and white zinfandel
- Peach, peach flavored chardonnay, and chamomile
- Apricot, mango kombucha, vanilla rooibos tea
- Blueberry, blackberry, merlot, chai tea
In the words of my bestie, these are “true taste sensations!”
Which one will you try? Pin this post to your recipe board! Share it on your facebok page
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Shared with: Wildcrafting Wednesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways