May 21, 2012

Watermelon Ginger Popsicles

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The weather in Edmonton has been absolutely lovely. It really couldn’t have been more perfect for the three weeks of my mini waiting-for-baby vacation. We’re still not sure how long this vacation will last. The baby is due tomorrow, but who knows when it will actually decide to show up? We’re hoping sooner rather than later. We’re so excited to meet it!

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I’ve been spending lots of time outdoors, walking to and from various errands and sitting on the balcony soaking up the sun. I was telling J the other day that it’s amazing how much Edmonton transforms itself at this time of year. All of sudden green is everywhere you look – vibrant, pulsating green. We live right near the river valley, and it becomes a haven of greenery, the complete opposite of the brown and white we see most of the year. I love all the flowers covering the tree branches right now – to me, it’s one of the most beautiful sights in this climate. The air is so fragrant. It’s wonderful.

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I’ve also been spending a lot of my free time in the kitchen, and with the warm weather, thoughts turned to summer treats like homemade popsicles. They are so easy to make, and there are so many delicious combinations. I’m inspired by a brilliant cookbook I have about Mexican popsicles, called paletas, written by Fany Gerson. She runs a paleta business in New York City. The book is beautiful and filled with recipes for all kinds of various popsicles, shaved ices, and aguas frescas. My first batch was grapefruit popsicles, which were fantastic. A blend of fresh grapefruit juice and simple syrup, they had a perfect tartness.

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These watermelon popsicles were an inspiration from J. I bought a big watermelon on sale at the grocery store earlier this week and was planning to turn some of it into popsicles, using the recipe in Fany’s book. I also made ginger syrup this week, and J suggested combining the two. They turned out great. So refreshing from the watermelon, and the ginger adds a really nice little kick. J said the ginger came through as an aroma for him. I made my ginger syrup really strong and spicy, but feel free to play it down if you like. Know, however, that if you make it too weak you might not taste ginger in the popsicles at all.

You could also easily make these with a plain simple syrup, as the original recipe suggests. If you’re a fan of popsicles and other frozen treats I highly recommend this book. Most recipes look very easy and take advantage of summer’s bounty. There are a few Mexican ingredients that might be hard to find, but that could be a fun challenge too (depending on where you live).

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Watermelon Ginger Popsicles

1/2 cup ginger syrup (recipe follows)
1.5 pounds peeled and diced watermelon (about 4 cups)
1 Tablespoon lime juice

Put the watermelon in a blender (I actually used an immersion blender) and blend until smooth. Add the syrup and lime juice and mix again until blended.

Pour into your popsicle molds and freeze until solid.

Makes about ten 2.5 oz-popsicles (the mold in the first picture above is a smaller one – I used two different-sized molds. )

To make the ginger syrup:

2 cups chopped ginger (from a few large hunks fresh ginger root)
4.5 cups water
1.5 cups sugar

These amounts will make about 2 cups very strong, spicy, not very sweet ginger syrup. If you don’t want it so spicy, use less ginger or more sugar. It’s great to have on hand to add to water or mixed drinks, but you only need 1/2 cup for the popsicles.

The ginger should be chopped into small pieces. Put it into a pot with the sugar and water and bring to a boil so the sugar dissolves. Simmer for about 30 minutes so the ginger flavour infuses the water. The longer you let it simmer, the stronger it gets. Let cool, strain the ginger and pour the syrup into a jar or bottle.

1 comment:

Marfa said...

I saw pictures of baby on Facebook...so congratulations!!! We saw a PBS cooking show a couple of weeks ago and they made paletas, I want to get that cookbook, too. We'll give these ginger watermelon ones a try......sounds scrumptious. I have that EXACT same popsicle maker. It's so hard to get the popsicles out, we have to let them sit on the counter and warm up for quite a while or else the stick comes out and the popsicle is stuck in there!!!