Cool Cantaloupe Pops

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There’s a bad apple in every bunch. And there’s often a lot of bad bunches of produce. It’s especially true these days. It can be so hard to find a bunch, bushel, or bag of fruit that’s not bad. As someone who eats an exorbitant amount of fresh produce on the regular, I know this to be true. I sometimes wonder if producers know that American markets know nothing about picking ripe, fresh produce. I’m no expert, by any means, but for all the time I’ve spent picking out produce, I’ve come to question this.CC Pics 024

The positive is that I’ve also learned a few how-to’s along the way. Sometimes when I’ve had one too many bad picks–pale, tasteless grapefruit and old, flavorless spaghetti squash being the biggest repeat offenders–I look online for tips. Other times, I look to whoever is standing close to me and looks like they know what they’re doing.

So when I was standing at Hy-Vee contemplating cantaloupe, I asked the woman to my right, who was also thumbing through, thumping, and smelling every melon in the bin. And let me tell you, she knew what she was doing. In an all-business tone, she let me know that a nice golden rind is going to be the freshest, juiciest, most flavorful pick. She was also frustrated that we couldn’t smell them. I knew about the smelling-for-sweetness trick, but what she told me next surprised me: If they wash them well, you can’t smell them for ripeness; the smell gets scrubbed off.CC Pics 025

Did I pick a winner?

You bet. It was good. Plus I let it sit on my warm kitchen countertop in my anti-AC apartment for a few days to ripen up a bit more. Oh, my sweetness! It was…

And then I turned 1/4 of that Candy Cantaloupe into this: Pops! You know I’m a popsicle fiend, especially during these hot summer days. So while I resist faux coolant, I find a pleasurable defense in popsicles. And these ones are good! I know I say that often, but seriously, the cantaloupe, a little stevia for sweetness, and a little yo for smoothness makes this recipe better than any Dreamsicle I’ve had. Cross my heart and have my cantaloupe if I’d steer you wrong. Try it!

Makes 4 medium-sized popsicles or six small ones.CC Pics 026

Ingredients

1 cup cantaloupe chunks

spritz of lemon

splash of vanilla

1 T stevia

1/2 cup plain, non-fat yogurt (dairy-free coconut is the best!)

Directions

Cover of Pops! by Krystina Castella whom I interviewed for a summer 2011 feature in the Kansas City Star. Click the image to link to that story.

Cover of Pops! by Krystina Castella whom I interviewed for a summer 2011 feature in the Kansas City Star. Click the image to link to that story.

So easy. Place your fruit and all other ingredients in blender. Blend ’til smooth.

If you like, drop a few more thin slices of cantaloupe (or other pretty fruit, like orange slices without the rind) down the sides of your pop molds and then distribute your blended concoction evenly between the molds. Freeze for 3-4 hours or until solid.

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Mango Ice Cream

It’s beginning to look like I’m going to try every fruit-ice-cream or sorbet combination possible.

When I made this ice cream, mangoes were in season.

I wish they still were. So sweet for your health.

…and they taste pretty sweet, too!

Ingredients

-1 mango, diced into small pieces (skin optional, but I think it gives a fun confetti effect & it’s good for you!)

-1 t stevia

-scant pinch of salt

-2 T non-dairy milk

-small splash of vanilla

-1/4 cup organic yogurt

Directions

-Liquefy mango in the blender ’til very liquid-y. Then blend in remaining ingredients.

-Once mixed well, transfer to ice cream maker and prepare as directed. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can do one of two things:

1. Place mix in freezer, scraping and churning occasionally until you achieve a thick ice-cream-like texture.

2. Freeze chunked mango before hand. Freeze liquids in ice cube trays. Then place all ingredients–frozen and not–in blender and process ’til smoothie like. Freeze for a bit to let the mixture firm up.

Pineapple Sherbert

Today, I’m thinking pineapples. Jillian Michaels, of whom I’m a fan, isn’t crazy about them because they’re very sweet, but in comparison to other sweet treats from nature (fruits, that is) they’re among the least nutritious. But the pineapple’s incredible … Continue reading

Watermelon Ice Cream

Happy National Watermelon Day!

I love frivolous holidays, and I could probably eat a whole watermelon (by myself, and quickly) if you weren’t watching me.

That’s why I love this watermelon ice cream recipe from Eating Well. So simple to make.

Notice the cute little dots? Don’t they look like seeds?

I tossed a few blueberries into the blender just for the effect.

Ingredients

1-1 1/2 cups watermelon (frozen if you don’t have an ice cream maker.

4 T vanilla yogurt or non-dairy milk (or a combination of both; yogurt will make for a creamier texture thought)

1 t stevia or other sweetener

1 T freshly-squeezed lime juice

dash of vanilla

the scantest pinch of salt

Optional: blueberries for effect

Directions

-Combine all ingredients in a blender until liquefied. Transfer to ice cream maker and prepare as directed.

-Alternatively, if you don’t have an ice cream maker, simply freeze the watermelon in small chunks beforehand. Blend until you reach a consistence you like (too thin and you’ll have a frosty drink instead (like my watermelon-banana frosty).