Strawberries do well here, if only given half a chance = some sunshine, and June has been kind to us. This year seems to be a good year for deep red, juicy strawberries. There are big strawberry fields all around our place and no escaping the strawberry tents that have set up shop everywhere, no matter which way you point your car on your way out of town. The other day I came home with one kilo of sweet, nice and ripe, red strawberries and I can honestly say that I have no idea how that happened,since I didn’t have plans of coming home with any that day…one of my helpful strawberry-eaters here pointed out to me that they kinda sorta must just have jumped on my back while I was passing by – nevertheless, after dinner they were gone, all of them.
There’s (at least) two kinds of strawberries available right now; the place closest to us grows “Honey Eye” and “Rumba”, both of them deep red all the way through and bursting with flavor – I prefer the “Honey Eye”, for that extra little kick of acidity it has to it, but all varieties are delicious, a really long shot from their anemic and crunchy supermarket cousins, that travel so well from far-away places (as far away as Morocco, would you believe?), but are lacking in the flavor department – when you put something in your mouth with your eyes closed and you can’t tell what it is, it’s not worth the effort and a waste of money and resources.
So, what to do with the nice strawberries, apart from the obvious thing and just eat them? Popsicles Ice Pops, of course, it’s summer! Strawberry-Elderflower-IcePops, to be precise. If you’re of the opinion that elderflower has no business in your strawberry-pops, that’s just fine and you can substitute the elderflower syrup with simple sugar syrup – no rules. I use Norpro Icepop molds; they work well, have that classic IcePop look I like and a nice, satisfying size, that even my 3 year old can finish (he licks, and that takes a while) without making a major melted mess.
The pops are an eye popping red and they’re like eating strawberries on a stick, so refreshing, with the tiny strawberry seeds providing just the right amount of crunch and some nice tartness from the lime juice and the elderflower syrup – perfect for a hot summer day.
makes about ten 90 ml/3 oz IcePops
A note on storage: I use small pieces of waxed paper to keep each pop from accidentally freezing to its neighbor and store them in a good quality, tight closing freezer bag. This way they’ll keep in the freezer for a couple of months before permafrost sets in for real.
500 g (1lb) really ripe strawberries
250 ml (1 cup) elderflower syrup
juice of 1 lime
1. Give the strawberries a quick wash and hull them.
2. Purée the strawberries with an immersion blender (or in a blender, or in a food processor)
3. Transfer the puréed strawberries into a bowl or pitcher that is easy to pour from, so you’ll hit the pop molds, not your counter (mostly) and mix with the elderflower syrup and lime juice.
4. Taste. The mix should be fairly sweet (freezing will make it taste less so), but should have a decidedly citrussy note to it. Correct the flavor with more syrup or more lime, depending on the natural sweetness of the berries.
5. Pour into the molds, put on the lid and insert the sticks. Freeze until solid, at least 4 hours.
6. To unmold, take off the lid and immerse in a sink full of hot water, all the way up to the top of the mold, so the whole pop gets loose, not just the bottom. Leave in the hot water for only a few seconds (counting helps: one hippopotamus, two hippopotami, three hippopotami…). If the pop won’t pop easily, submerge again.
7. Wrap each pop in a sheet of waxed paper and put them in a freezer bag. If you can, find a relatively level spot in your freezer to store them, so you won’t cramp their style and make ugly looking dings in them while they’re a bit soft from unmolding.
Note: if you like to use sugar syrup instead of elderflower syrup, make a simple syrup of equal parts sugar and water and use instead.
makes about 250 ml (1 cup)
150 g (2/3 cup) sugar
150 ml (2/3 cup) water
1. Mix the water and sugar in a small pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved.
2. Let cool to room temperature before using.