The air conditioning is on, and outside the sky is a solid shade of gray. On days like this, it’s hard to believe it’s actually summer out there. Back in June, we had some days where the temperature climbed over 30 degrees, but no one knew if we were allowed to turn the AC on yet – I think we just sat around, fanning our red faces and trying in vain to focus on our computer screens. So, I realize the value of temperature control. But after actually succumbing to a feverish natsu kaze (summer cold) last week, I also realize that the drastic changes in temperature we put ourselves through during this season can be tough on one’s health. Combine this with the desire to save energy, and you’ve got two good reasons to look for ways to survive the summer that don’t involve switching on the AC.
You can grow goya, or head to the beach, or hang a glass windchime on your varanda. But here is my favorite so far: popsicles.
Who didn’t make popsicles as a kid? My parents bought me juice to make mine – probably because they were better for me than the bars of food coloring and high fructose corn syrup that they sold at the store. My popsicle mold had a little juice reservoir in the bottom with a straw sticking out of it. I always looked forward to drinking the melted juice at the end.
That was many years ago, and I had allowed the memory of delicious homemade popsicles to fade from my mind. But this year, it all came flooding back to me. They aren’t so fancy, but we found one of those nostalgic plastic popsicle molds at the local Daiso (100 yen store) and have been devouring apple juice awesomeness almost every night since.
Am I too old for this? Never. And I hope you aren’t, either.
If you can’t find a mold, you can also use small paper cups and popsicle sticks or disposable chopsticks. (I used toothpicks, but can’t recommend them.) Filling-wise, juice is a no-brainer, but you could also try coffee, or soda, or even something fancy, like the recipe below. For this, I suggest using paper cups over a plastic mold – the cream can make them a little tricky to clean.
Peaches & Cream Popsicles
- 1 peach, pitted
- 1/2 banana
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 cup apple juice
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- Combine peach, banana, apple juice and honey in blender. Blend until smooth, then move to a large mixing bowl.
- Whip cream until it begins to hold its own shape.
- Fold cream gently into the blended ingredients from step 1.
- Spoon mixture into small paper cups. (Note: creasing the cups so that the mouths are somewhat oblong, rather than circular, will make the popsicles easier to eat later.) Insert a popsicle stick or a wooden chopstick into the center of each – the mixture should be thick enough to hold them up straight.
- Arrange upright in freezer, and allow to freeze for at least five hours.
- To loosen popsicles from paper cups, run breifly under warm water.