Finally at the end of May it is warm enough for shorts and cool refreshments in North Dakota. It’s still not warm enough for swimming, but it is warm enough for sunburns! We had a cookout this past weekend and knowing better, I didn’t put on any sunscreen and got my first facial burn of the summer. Now that it is nice and warm here I decided that it was time to start the summer off experimenting with popsicles. It is easy to go to the store and purchase a box or two of the sugar filled popsicles, but it is also just as easy to make your own popsicles at home with no added sugar and all of the same great flavor!

These cool, sweet treats only took about 10 minutes to whip up and a night to freeze them. And all of the ingredients are fresh fruits with a splash of vanilla! There are many different ways to naturally enhance the sweetness of a food without adding additional sugar. One of my favorite ways is to add a handful of blueberries to a bowl of plain Greek yogurt. Here are a few tips on how to naturally enhance the sweetness of food items:

  • Salt – Ironically a dash of salt can help bring out the sweetness of a food. Ever tried salt on your watermelon? However, I do not recommend this method for individuals with high blood pressure or other cardiovascular diseases.
  • Milk or cream – Milk and cream naturally contains a sugar called lactose which adds a hint of sweetness to it. In this recipe I used coconut milk, which we talked about last week, and it works very well with the fruit to provide a wonderful sweetness to this recipe.
  • Cinnamon and other spices – These spices contain a hint of natural sweetness and they help enhance the sweetness of food. I am usually able to just add cinnamon to my oatmeal in the morning and it is perfectly sweet, I also add milk to it which helps as well.
  • Stevia – This is a natural sweetener that comes from a plant and it is a great alternate sweetener for diabetics. I will have a post featuring this wonderful sweetener is a few weeks.
  • Vanilla – Not only does it smell and taste wonderful, this flavoring works similarly to cinnamon and other spices when enhancing the sweetness of food.
  • Fruit – The star of this recipe is fruit. Most everyone loves fruit because of its sweet flavor. Fruit does naturally contain sugar, but don’t be afraid to eat fruit because of that! There are so many nutrients in fruit such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants which makes it the perfect natural sweetener.

So here is my recipe for a naturally sweetened popsicle!

DIY Popsicles

Ingredients:

  • 1 14 oz can of coconut milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed pineapple
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until no more chunks remain.
  2. Pour mixture into popsicle molds (makes 8-12) or in ice cube trays if you would like to make mini popsicles – don’t forget to add the sticks!
  3. Place popsicle mold in freezer for at least 8 hours and enjoy!

img_8810

See! I told you it was easy! 🙂