One of the best-frozen treats to beat the summer heat! Sweet, cold, and handy: the ice pops! These are frozen water-based or milk-based snacks on a stick.
How was the ice pop invented? It was by accident, and by an eleven-year-old boy. In 1905, Frank Epperson accidentally left outside a glass of water and powdered soda, with a wooden stirrer. The next morning, he saw the mixture frozen solid, and was able to remove the frozen soda mixture by running hot water on the glass and pulling on the wooden handle. He maximized this idea by making the pops for his friends, which he called “Epsicles.” He patented his invention about 18 years later, in 1923, but using the word, “Popsicles.” This word is a recommendation of his children, which meant “pop’s ‘sicles.” This invention was a big success, even selling 8,000 popsicles in one day at an amusement park. It was initially available in seven flavors, one of which is cherry, which from then, until now, is still the most popular flavor.
Ice Pop Trivia
- Ice pops are also known as freezer pops, ice lollies, ice blocks, iced drops, and paleta. Names differ per country or region.
- Though we often use ice pops and Popsicle interchangeably to pertain to this snack on a stick, Popsicle is actually trademarked. In 1924, Epperson filed and was granted a patent for the Popsicle process, which he sold to the Joe Lowe Company in New York. Through the years, the “popsicle” has undergone several copyright battles, but currently, Unilever owns the rights to Popsicle.
- The two-stick version of the ice pop was invented during The Great Depression, as a solution of less-costly treat for children. Two children can share the twin ice pops for a nickel, or the same price of the single ice pop.
- There are several days of commemoration for the ice pops: May 27th is the National Grape Popsicle Day, August 26th is the National Cherry Popsicle Day and September 2nd is the National Blueberry Popsicle Day.
- In the Guinness World Records, there are several amazing accomplishments recorded concerning ice pops. Six is the number of the most lollies eaten in a minute, as achieved by USA’s Kevin Strahle in New Jersey on December 7th of 2017. Meanwhile, the biggest ice lolly was also recorded in August 1997 by Netherland’s Jan Van Den Berg. Called the Rocket Ice, it was 6.5m long, 2.26m wide, about 1.1m thick on average, and weighed 9.081 tonnes or 20,020 lbs.
Ice Pop Buying Guide
Ice pops are easy to find in supermarkets and convenience stores. Specialty pop stores, as well as some ice cream sellers, are also selling these delightful confections.
Ice Pop Production & Farming in Texas
Aside from chain brands, buyers can also easily find local makers and producers of ice pops within the state. There are artisan ice cream sellers, dessert shops, drink bars, and even farms! These sellers produce ice lolly variations of their main products like fruity and creamy pops, and even a goat milk ice lolly!
Preservatives, Additives, and Chemicals
While it may seem easy to make ice pops with natural ingredients, other makers, especially the commercial producers may include other preservatives to their products to enhance the flavor, extend the shelf life and make it more colorful. But no need to fear if you are crazy for ice pops, as these are generally recognized as safe, though caution and moderation must always be practiced… if you can remember them before finishing your nth stick of pop! Parents are also advised as the usual ice pops may not contain nutrients for the children, and the high sugar content.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup – The HFCS is an artificial sugar that is made from corn syrup. Commercial producers of products usually use this, as the HFCS is a cheaper substitute to natural sweeteners. But overconsumption of items with this ingredient can be linked to several serious health issues such as diabetes, obesity, fatty liver, and heart disease.
- Guar Gum – This is a polysaccharide that is used as a food additive in processed foods and can be derived from legumes called guar beans. It is used to thicken and bind food products, as it is soluble and can absorb water. The FDA recognizes this as safe for consumption in specific amounts. It has said to have some benefits like improving digestive health and decrease blood sugar and blood cholesterol, however, it may also trigger an allergic reaction, or cause gas and bloating.
- Artificial Flavors – these are flavorings added in our food that is not extracted from organic sources such as plants or animals. These are usually present in processed foods and snacks. But while others do not recommend taking in food with anything artificial, there are no reported significant health risks associated with taking in these artificial flavors.
Ice pops are usually packed in individual plastic sleeves as well as boxes, to preserve the freshness and to contain the product. Other packs are transparent, to showcase the beautiful colors of the pops.
Enjoying Ice Pops
There is no limit when you think of ice pop variations. It can be made from pop sodas, or juices, from fresh local fruit, or cream or milk-based mixes, or even alcoholic beverages. Now that makes this treat more excitingly boozy!
You can go classic with the usual flavors like cherry, grape, or orange, or challenge your tastebuds with tamarind, peanut butter banana, tomato water, strawberry champagne flavored pops, and many more!
Ice pops, store-bought or homemade are best stored in the freezer, or else, you’ll end up with a gooey, juicy mess. For homemade ice pops, you can leave them in the mold or after removing from the mold, wrap them individually in parchment or wax paper or plastic bag and then place in an airtight container. The popsicles will keep its freshness and taste for about a week or two.
Homemade Fruit Ice Pops
Ice pops in about 5 minutes? It’s that easy! The Food Network shares an easy to make strawberry pop!
- 2 cups frozen strawberries, thawed
- ¼ cup apple juice
- 2 tbsp. honey
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 pinch of salt
- Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency.
- Pour on ice pop molds or small plastic cups, and insert the pop stick.
- Freeze for at least 5 hours or overnight.