Pleasure Practices with Sami Schalk: Hot 4 popsicles

Try a flavorful update on a nostalgic summer treat.
Two photos show Sami Schalk standing against a door. On the left, she smiles at the camera while holding a bright red unicorn popsicle; on the right, Schalk's hand with the popsicle is centered at a close-up.
Sami Schalk is keeping cool this summer with homemade popsicles from a unicorn mold.

Try a flavorful update on a nostalgic summer treat.

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Happy August, dear readers! It’s been hot AF lately (thanks climate change, thanks corporate pollution, thanks capitalism) and I have a secret to share: I don’t really like ice cream that much. I know it’s blasphemy in this dairy state to say such a thing, but when I go visit the Chocolate Shoppe, I’m far more likely to get their mango carrot Italian ice than chocolate chip cookie dough or the Exhausted Parent (yes, that’s a real ice cream name there). I just generally prefer something light and fruity after a meal, ok?! When I’m at home that sometimes means digging into a pint of sorbet (have you tried Jeni’s Frosè? It’s so good!) or a popsicle. 

When I was 3 or 4, there was one summer where all I wanted to eat was popsicles (or so I’ve been told, I don’t remember this), so my mom bought popsicle molds to make some more affordably, with less bounce-off-the-wall sugar levels, at home. We had those popsicles molds for years and years, like well into high school at least. Two years ago, I got these unicorn-shaped popsicle molds, then sort of forgot about them after one summer because they were buried in the back of a cabinet. Recently though, I did some re-organizing and re-discovered them along with the joy of homemade popsicles.

Popsicles are such a pleasurable nostalgia summer treat for me, but I am definitely not into the super sugary fake fruit flavor things I ate as a kid anymore. Now I want natural fruit pops and fancy flavors. One time when I went kayaking at Brittingham Boats, they had these strawberry rhubarb popsicles that were so tasty and a delight to eat on the lake on a hot day. With the re-discovery of my unicorn popsicle mold this summer, I decided to make some of my own (after a night of falling down a homemade-popsicle-recipe rabbit hole). Here’s the version I ended up Frankensteining from others I read. You’ll need popsicle molds of some sort and a blender. I use my Lisa Frank Blendjet. It’s great for making single smoothies or a small batch of unicorn popsicles. We love functional cute things! Your quantity of the ingredients below may need to adjust based on how big your popsicle molds are. For mine, this makes four popsicles plus a few taste-test sips. 

Strawberry Carrot Pleasure Pops

  • 1 heaping cup of cleaned and sliced strawberries (Don’t want to deal with washing and cutting up fresh ones? Frozen is totally fine, just let them thaw a bit before blending.)
  • 1/3 cup of carrot juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Honey to taste (or agave or whatever your preferred sweetener is)
  • Combine strawberries, carrot juice, and lemon juice in the blender. Blend until smooth then taste it. Add honey as needed until it’s as sweet as you like it. For me that’s about a half teaspoon, but you do you, babe. Sweeten to your heart’s delight! Once everything is blended, pour into your popsicles molds and let them freeze overnight. Once they’re frozen, put them in your mouth and share them with friends. (Not the ones you already put in your mouth though!) Enjoy the mildly elevated nostalgia of a cold homemade popsicle on a hot summer day.

And honestly, this bare-bones recipe is just a basic blueprint for any fruit popsicles you want to make (trust me, I looked at a lot of recipes). You could use any fruit you like—cherry, mango, banana, pear—just strain your popsicle blend if you’re using something potentially pulpy like oranges or clementines. You can also substitute a different juice or use yogurt to make it creamy. Some extra juicy fruits like watermelon might not need as much liquid added. Part of the joy of this month’s pleasure practice is to experiment with new combinations of things to see what you like best. 

As always, feel free to tag me on social media to tell me about the popsicles you make and the flavors you most enjoy. Until next time, stay cool out there, you badass bitches!

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