Last winter we took a vacation to San Juan, Puerto Rico. About the only advantage of one or both spouses traveling a lot for work is earning enough hotel and airline points for a vacation. And that is exactly how we found ourselves in San Juan. And what does a foodie do on vacation? Why try the local food of course. And how better to sample the local cuisine than by taking a food tour. We took a food tour in Old San Juan that allowed us to sample food and drinks in about seven different restaurants from the local mofongo (mashed plantains with garlic) to Puetro Rican coffee, and of course when you are on an island where the seasons are hot and hotter (according to our guide) it also includes a stop at a Paleta shop.
Paletas are Mexican ice pops, or popsicles. We stopped at Senor Paleta on the food tour to try their strawberry mojito popsicles. We later went back on other visits to the old city to try other flavors. But there was something so very refreshing about the fresh strawberries and the mint in these ones that stuck with me.
So, I’m back in Minnesota and for my birthday, Tory gives me a book called ‘Paletas’ because she knows how much I like Mexican food and she thought it would be fun for me to make Mexican popsicles. She was right – I was thrilled. I was even more thrilled she gave me a popsicle mold with the book.
Then last weekend we go strawberry picking and despite my best efforts to control ourselves and not pick too many, this is what we come home with.
Approximately 17 pounds of strawberries. Well you know that strawberry popsicles were definitely on my list of ways to make use of these berries. I used the base recipe for strawberry ice pops from the book to make my own version of the strawberry mojito popsicle that I remembered from our trip.
Here’s what you need:
Sorry to disappoint all of you hoping for rum in the ingredient picture. You could definitely splash a little in for an adult version but remember alcohol will impact the freezing process – I haven’t personally done it yet so I would look to google for tips, maybe someday, although likely Tory will figure it out first.
Start by hulling and quartering 4 cups of strawberries. Yes, I promise you this is 4 cups in the picture –it just looks half full because this is an 8 cup measuring cup.
Add some sugar to the strawberries and stir together. Allow the strawberries to sit on the counter for about 20 to 30 minutes until you see the strawberries begin to release their juice. You can adjust the sugar based on your taste and the sweetness of the strawberries – the book recommended wild strawberries and I went to a strawberry farm that definitely closer to wild than what you can get in a store; store bought strawberries might want a little more sugar. Also, remember that things don’t taste as sweet when cold so a little sweeter than you would normally like room temp is ok.
Transfer the strawberries to a saucepan and add in some water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes until they soften.
Allow the strawberries to cool until about room temperature.
Pour the strawberries and juice into a blender. Add in the juice of one lime and about two tablespoons of torn fresh mint, don’t worry about chopping as the blender does this for you. Blend until smooth.
If you look close you can see some specks of green (I saw close because you can also see plenty of bubbles). The mixture will be a little frothy on top after blending, this is perfectly normal.
Pour from the blender into your popsicle molds. The molds I have make 10, 3 ounce popsicles. This recipe gave me enough for 12, it will vary based on the size of your molds. If your mold has a cover, pop it on and then slide the sticks in. If it doesn’t have a cover – freeze until beginning to set (about an hour and a half) and add the sticks.
Freeze until firm. To umold the popsicles, fill your sink with enough hot water to almost come to the top of the popsicle mold. Set the popsicle mold in the water until the popsicles begin to release when you gently pull up on the sticks.
Gently unmold the popsicles.
Serve immediately or wrap in plastic bags and place in the freezer.
- 4 c strawberries, hulled and quartered
- ¾ c sugar
- ½ c water
- 1 lime, juice of
- 2 T mint leaves, torn
- Mix the strawberries and sugar in a bowl and allow to sit 20 to 30 minutes until the strawberries begin to release their juice.
- Transfer to a sauce pan, add water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes until strawberries are soft.
- Cool strawberry mixture to room temperature.
- Pour into a blender and add lime and mint. Blend until smooth.
- Pour into popsicle molds. If the mold has a lid, put it on and add the sticks. If not, freeze for an hour and a half or so until just beginning to set before adding the sticks. Freeze until firm – about 5 hours.
- To unmold, fill a sink with hot water almost to the depth of the popsicle mold. Set the popsicle mold in the water until the popsicles release when the stick is pulled gently.
- Serve immediately or wrap in plastic and freeze.