It is high summer. It's hot as blue blazes, and they don't call them dog days for nothing. The children are cranky, and you would just as soon have them sit outside in the shade of the old oak tree. And you would like to keep things simple, so send them out with a big bowl of homemade watermelon popsicles, sliced by you of course, and have them pick out the seeds.
Watch out for those like Rachel LaClair, age 9, who "ended up eating more watermelon than she deseeded." The Hannans put everyone on task but reported, "Our watermelon had tons of seeds so Mom pulled out most of them with the kids attempting to fish out a few, but they really chased them around the bowl a lot." I'm a huge advocate of letting the tykes get good and dirty, but with good clean dirt, so encourage a little seed tossing, a point well taken by the Sypniewski kids who," thought it was great when Mom told them to spit the seeds and see how far they could fly." Have a spitting contest or a family-circle spit: Have the whole family stand around in their old clothes or bathing suits and get out that inner aggression.
- 1/2 watermelon (deseeded)
- 1 manual food mill, Cuisinart or blender
- Molds, either purchased plastic ones or paper cups
- Sugar to taste
- Frozen treat sticks
- Lemon, lime or cranberry juice- optional
Once all seeds have been removed, either by hand or strained through the food mill, taste the remaining juice. Poll your audience. If anyone wants it sweeter, add sugar; for those who prefer the tart side, add lemon or lime. Somebody wants it tangy? Add cranberry juice. There are any number of options, although I believe it best to limit them somewhat. In the LaClair family, Ryan (11) liked lemon best, Christine (4) liked cranberry best and Rachel (9) liked them all.
Pour the concoction into your chosen molds, and put them in the freezer until slushy. Once the treats reach that point, place the sticks in the mixture and return them to the freezer. When they're frozen solid, pull the treats from the freezer, pop them from the molds, and give everybody their own watermelon on a stick. Lynda Hannan strongly recommends buying the "cool ice-pop makers. They have a built-in straw in the base, and any drips can be slurped like juice--a critical feature for 4 and under."
You may notice separation if you have not strained the pulp. Some folks liked this. "It didn't seem to bother the kids, and I think they liked the striped effect,' says Lynda Hannan. Others, like the Sypniewskis, prefer their ice pops pulp-free and would have benefited from a good straining. Or, as Tricia put it, "Make sure you don't add too much juice. The watermelon [pulp] tends to float and the juice sinks. You'll get half and half popsicles."
A fun web site to check out is www.popsicle.com for information on ice pops and a game zone.
TAKE IT FROM ME:
"Tri-color frozen sticks, with orange juice, cranberry juice and watermelon, make a great variation on the theme. So does mixing in yogurt." --Ansell Hawkins