These homemade popsicles are based on an idea my mom had when my brother and I were little. We’d pour a single serving of yogurt or orange juice into one of the smallest Tupperware cups, freeze, and then chip away at the filling with a grapefruit spoon. It’s a process, it’s cold, and the chipping is fun! This is a great activity for kids, my son loves it!
This is a grapefruit spoon. The serrated edges help get the section of grapefruit out of a halved fruit. It’s also great for digging out frozen yogurt, juice and ice cream! Bed, Bath and Beyond and Wheatsville Coop have single grapefruit spoons you can purchase. We only have one since it’s all we need. They’re also on Amazon. I don’t see these much in traditional grocery stores.
This article focuses on the Rs: Reduce and Reuse, which I also think of as Rethink.
I chose ice cube size since I don’t want my three year old to try and finish a whole cup or serving of juice or yogurt which he will because it’s yummy and it’s there. He can also help easier with this layout, and he can see which flavor he wants to pick. Kids like choices. If you do use a small cup instead, make sure it’s microwavable if you might want to soften it up before eating. If you microwave the cup enough but not too much, the filling can actually slide out as a giant popsicle, or at least that worked on the small Tupperware cups. Our family had the 70s version but I think these may be the modern version.
- This is setup. I use a silicon ice cube tray since that’s really easy for us to pop out the ice cubes. The yogurt pops are a little harder to pop out than the juice pops.
- These are the “popsicle” sticks I have right now (technically they’re taster sticks). They work but they’re a bit short for a growing toddler. Regular popsicle sticks seem a bit narrow to me for a three year old but I’ll probably try them next. The stick and paper bands on this product are compostable and the zippered bag the sticks come in can be reused and then recycled at a store plastic bag drop-off center. The sticks pictured here are purple because I tried grape popsicles, but my son wasn’t a fan.
- The orange juice is 1/2 cup OJ and 1/2 cup water. It fills up half the tray.
- The plain yogurt is just a guess on the amount of cubes you want to make, with enough jam to flavor it. This was less than a spoon of jam. Most pre-flavored yogurts have a ton of sugar in them so we flavor our plain yogurt by adding jam.
Here’s what we use for our popsicle ingredients.
– The plain yogurt is one big tub with one throw-away seal. There’s less sugar in plain yogurt, even less than vanilla. Vanillas can have a lot of sugar added so read labels. Add jam, jelly, bulk sugar, honey or maple syrup to your taste. Lid and tub are recyclable.
– This fruit spread has less sugar than many jams and jellies, and as far as I recall doesn’t come with a plastic seal around the lid. Lid and jar recyclable. I love flavoring with jam and jelly because they’re usually just the lid and jar, have the vacuum seal that pops instead of a plastic or composite seal, and you can control the flavor level.
– The orange juice has one throw-away seal. The lid and bottle are recyclable and also super fun to play with outside for water activities. Reminder that orange juice cartons and milk cartons are not recyclable in most places. They are plastic-coated paper and sometimes also even have metal between the layers of paper and plastic. Carton container composition would be similar for juice concentrate tubes. Try to buy orange juice in bottles if you can or make your own with fresh oranges and a juicer. Tip: Ask around because people usually don’t use their juicer long if they’re not committed. Antique malls are also a great place to find lovely glass juicers, mine is glass from the Round Rock Antique Mall.
You don’t have to buy organic to find less sugar if that is important to you. A reminder that our family prefers organic products. Organic should have less pesticides which is “greener” because there are less chemicals going into the ground. Just research the brands that you can afford and are willing to consider.
Remember that if you have the funds, space, and the capacity to consume before the expiration date, larger containers are usually more cost effective per serving and will have less packaging. This may not always be true for bulk stores like Costco and Sam’s, but in general think along those lines. As an example consider the one throw-away yogurt seal versus a case of single-use yogurt throw-away lids. Yogurts seals, the metal-y feeling bit, are plastic coated aluminum if they are aluminum at all; not all yogurt seals are aluminum or the same material. Without contacting your yogurt manufacturer it may be safer to throw yogurt seals out.
The silicone tray can be wobbly when full so I recommend using the “lid” as a tray and keep it underneath the tray as you fill it up. That way you are less likely to spill juice.
My husband had the best idea that instead of using single-use items, like compostable sticks, we use toddler/baby utensils. We could donate them when we were done and they’re reusable! We have two sets so I tried it. They’re way too big for ice cube size pops. My attempts at all orientations are below. No luck. Spoons would be good handles for small cups though.
Our son loves these. They’re a nice little treat after nap or if it’s a hot afternoon, and yes it’s still hot here in fall in Texas. They’re also great if he’s a bit hungry near bedtime and we don’t want to give him too much.
There are metal and silicone reusable popsicle molds out there, but this process uses what I have and I can reuse the ice cube molds for so many things. Most popsicle mold sets are made of plastic and plastic versions are usually what is sold in brick-and-mortar stores unfortunately. You’ll probably need to order your metal or silicone mold version, or check your social media groups for used ones. Many of these popsicle sets regardless of mold material have reusable plastic sticks, which we try to avoid, or use wooden sticks which we are using right now with the ice cube molds we already have. I did find these amazing looking metal standard-size popsicle sticks from EcoZoi and oh my gosh they have mini metal molds with metal sticks!!!! The mini round looks smaller than the mini flat (no volumes listed so I can’t be sure), but most kids are used to flat so to each their own preference. It’s be great to see if in the future EcoZoi offers both mini stick sizes alone to cover replacements or for home use. I’d like to see if their smallest stick for the mini round shape would work in an ice cube tray for example. Personally I would totally buy one of these mini sets if I wanted to have more professional looking popsicles or upgrade in size from my ice cube pops.
What childhood treats have you make “greener?”