The Fourth of July arrives this week and with it comes the glorious summer heat. Growing up on the farm meant summers were filled with all sorts of outdoor activities that left us basking under the hot sun—things like fixing fences and unloading hay bales. Though there weren’t a whole lot of lazy days, we were rewarded for all our hard work each afternoon around three with the frozen treat of our choice. I mean, what kid’s face wouldn’t light up at the prospect of a popsicle? It was good enough for me, and my kids aren’t much different.
I’ve kept the three o’clock-treat tradition with my own boys. While they complain throughout the day about how long it takes to get to the appointed hour, they immediately relax after running to the freezer to make their selection—and sometimes I even join them. Oh, I do love the simple pleasures of life.
When I realized how simple it is to create our own frozen goodies, I stopped buying the boxed stuff immediately. And with the fresh fruits of the season, summer is the perfect time to indulge. It takes very little effort to chill out with your very own icy creations in no time at all, using almost nothing but seasonal fresh fruits. So head to your own berry patch, explore the local farmers’ market, or look up a pick-your-own berry farm, and let your imagination go wild.
Here are a few of our favorite concoctions:
- DIY popsicles: These take a little patience, but the possibilities are endless. You’ll need a vessel of some sort to freeze them. Try small paper cups inserted with wooden craft sticks—you simply peel the cup away to reveal your masterpiece. Want a reusable option? There are lots of BPA-free choices available. From there, try freezing your favorite smoothie, or search the web for a frozen-treat recipe that makes you feel nostalgic. (Creamsicle, anyone?) You also can’t go wrong with this all-fruit beauty.
- Banana ice cream: This one isn’t so much about the season as it is a super quick way to get instant gratification of the frozen variety. If you’re like me, you typically keep a baggie of ripe bananas in your freezer. Toss a few of these and either some raw milk or nut milk of your choice into the food processor, and you have an instant frosty treat that you can eat right out of the processor bowl. Change it up by throwing a few strawberries in there too. It’s seriously that simple. And delicious.
- Dairy-free fudgsicles: I. Love. Fudgsicles. I can’t tell you why, but I do. Even though there’s no seasonal fruit involved here, it seems ridiculous to discuss any treasure from the freezer without including them. Since I’ve been avoiding dairy as of late, I experimented with making my own version with different types of milk and fell in love with full-fat coconut milk for its rich and creamy goodness—but you could use any variety you prefer. Here’s a super simple dairy-free fudgsicle recipe. Three ingredients are all you need. For additional health benefits, try using raw cacao.
- Chocolate-dipped frozen bananas. Stick wooden craft sticks into peeled bananas. Dip bananas in melted chocolate. Set on a baking sheet and freeze. Easy.
Add to your kids’ summer fun by creating some of your very own frozen favorites. Try something new each week, and keep track of what everyone liked and what they didn’t. Also consider establishing your own house rule—a three o’clock treat time will help make sure no one goes overboard. Because chances are, everyone will be tempted to.
When you were a kid, what favorite homemade frozen treat helped you beat the summer heat? Share your recipe with us!
Photo from iStock/kirin_photo