Beetroot Blueberry Pops
THEME: #253 MUNCHKIN MEALS
DISH: BEETROOT BLUEBERRY POPS
This Week’s Theme on FoodieMonday/Bloghop Group:
This week’s theme was suggested by Narmadha who blogs at Nams Corner. Her blog is a treasure trove of kids friendly recipes, bakes and Indian Cuisine recipes. Do check out her blog. Narmadha’s suggestion for the munchkin meals was to try and make them as healthy as possible. Desserts are always difficult to make them kids friendly with no sugar. That’s when I thought of Beetroot Blueberry Pops.
Kids Friendly Meals
When my kids were growing up making meals for them was never stressful. Back then we didn’t have restrictions, no don’t give that and don’t give this. When my kids started pureed food it was always made at home from avocado, banana, lentils with vegetables, etc. Soon mushy rice, dals, rotis crushed in a food processor, yogurt, semi crushed lentils and vegetables, semolina, maize meal and finger millet porridge were introduced. I remember we were also advised to give them fresh orange juice or turmeric water with a bit of honey. Finger foods were always fresh fruits, soft vegetables, roti and bread pieces. Don’t even remember when we stopped mashing up the sabji and dal and they started eating what we ate, just with less salt and chilli powder.
Kids Meal these days:
Nowadays doctors, nutritionists, advise young mothers what to give their babies and toddlers and what not to give. And then parents also have to cope with allergies. Some mothers follow the introduction of certain foods very strictly. For some feeding their kids becomes a battle as they probably don’t like the food introduced. Nowadays therapists will advise that they be allowed to play with their food to get the feel of the texture and taste too. I think my grandma would disapprove that as she believed that one does not play with God’s gift – food.
My Little Granddaughter, Lily:
My granddaughter is soon going to turn one year. Her food journey has been from not liking fruits to loving them. Her first pureed food, carrots was not taken too well, but loved broccoli. She pretty soon wanted to feed herself, so finger food like fruits, tiny pieces of bread, thepla, dosa were introduced. Yes she loves making a mess but at the same time wants to feed herself.
Beetroot Blueberry Pops
When Narmadha suggested a healthy meal for kids I was looking into baking muffins. My first ever purchase of blueberries in Mombasa and roasted beetroot were indicating otherwise. While I don’t have any toddlers or young kids to experiment on, hubby insisted that he is a willing candidate. The weather has become humid and very hot again so the idea of switching on the oven was not too appealing. Hubby was looking for ice cream and that’s when I decided to make Beetroot Blueberry Pops.
Why are Beetroot Blueberry Pops healthy for kids?
Firstly because there is no sugar added. The natural sweetness is from the beetroot. Secondly the beetroot and blueberries add that naturally deep purple colour. I added some grapes and lemon juice for a little tanginess. These pops are rich in dietary fibre as I didn’t strain the mixture, its full of the much needed vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. A fun way to get kids to enjoy an immunity boosting dessert or snack. I’ve not added any artificial food colours or additives. A natural, colorful, attractive and guilt free cool treat for both adults and kids to beat the heat.
My Kids and Pops:
When my kids were going to school they would always want to by the long ice pops that were sold outside their school. Occasionally allowed them to have them as Mombasa weather tends to be hot perpetually throughout the year. However, most of the time I made them at home for them from natural fruit juices. The ones sold near their school were always full of sugar, colour and additives which would usually result in a sour throat.
What are Pops?
Pops, popsicles, lollies, paleta are all the same thing. They are frozen desserts or cold snacks made from water, fruit or vegetable juices or milk. These are generally as frozen snack by both kids and adults. While ice creams and sorbets have added cream or are processed to give a smooth texture, ice pops are just blocks of ice. Mostly pops are on a stick but there are some that are made in long plastic tubes. I seriously would not recommend that for kids. I’ve known of some kids who desperately trying to get to the ice pop or lolly have actually swallowed plastics bits from the tubes.
What can you use for Homemade Pops?
The options are endless from fruit juices, vegetable juices to milks either dairy or nut milks. If you need to add some sweetener try and use honey, maple syrup, date syrup, agave nectar if possible. When not available use sugar sparingly and try and mix in a naturally sweet fruit or vegetable.
Some Pop/Popsicle/Lolly Ideas:
- Watermelon Coconut and Rose Popsicles – with fresh shredded coconut, a bit of rose syrup and ginger, these pops are flavorful.
- Mango and Passion Fruit Paleta – mango and passion fruit is a very flavorful and delicious combination.
- Pineapple Paleta – using fresh pineapple, fresh cream or coconut cream and over ripe banana, this lolly is my favorite.
- Orange Creamsicle Pops – these pops are a little different whereby fresh orange juice is mixed with soft vanilla ice cream and then frozen.
- Narmadha’s Watermelon Popsicles are made from watermelon juice and you can replace the sugar with honey.
- I’m adding Narmadha’s Semiya Paal Ice or Vermicelli Pops to my list of “must try.” An interesting pop to enjoy with some Indian flavors.
What if you don’t have pop or lolly moulds?
I’ve frozen them in ice trays. However, you can only insert the sticks when its sort of semi solid. Then also they tend to lop to one side. I also use to save the small yogurt plastic cups and use those. It was easy to make a slit with a hot knife on the lids so that a stick can be inserted through it.
How long does it take for the pops to freeze?
Usually anywhere between 4 to 8 hours. I prefer to let them freeze overnight.
How to de – mold the pops:
Run the molds under tap water and pull the pops or lollies out gently.
Ingredients required for Beetroot Blueberry Pops:
- Beetroot – either boiled or roasted without the peel.
- Blueberries – fresh or frozen. I used fresh.
- Grapes – any grapes of your choice.
- Water – to blend all the fruits and the root together.
- Salt – I used Himalayan Pink Salt. Use any salt of your choice. Added to bring out the flavors. Omit if making for toddlers. For kids who are very active a bit of salt is important so that they do not get dehydrated during the very hot season.
- Lemon Juice – preferably freshly squeezed
- Gluten Free
- Kids Friendly
- Healthy Dessert/Diabetic Friendly
BEETROOT BLUEBERRY POPS
- 1 medium beetroot (about 1 cup chopped)
- ½ cup fresh blueberries
- ½ cup grapes
- ¾ cup water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- generous pinch of salt
- Peel and boil or roast the beetroot.
- When it cools down a bit chop it into pieces.
- Add beetroot, blueberries, grapes, water, lemon juice and salt into a blender.
- Blend the mixture till you get a smooth thick liquid.
- Pour the mixture into ice pop or lolly moulds.
- Cover and freeze for at least 6 hours or more.
- To de mold, run the molds under tap water.
- Gently pull the pops out of the molds and serve immediately.
- Add maple syrup, honey or agave nectar for a more sweetish pop.
- You can strain the liquid to remove any beetroot fibres if serving very young kids.
- If you don't have pop or lolly molds, freeze the juice in an ice tray or small bowls. Make sure you cover it with foil.
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