It’s been a popsicle kind of week! As I mentioned in my previous post about becoming a gourmet herbalist, part of my graduation from botanical medicine school included crafting a project to help me along the path of using food as medicine.
As the Texas sun begins to grace us with days and days of sticky, intense heat, I got to thinking about what kind of herbal concoctions I could create to keep us all cool and help us chill out. I liked the idea of creating herbal elixirs and syrups, as my teacher did for an old-fashioned soda counter in town.
But, as you may have noticed, I’ve also been playing a lot with popsicles. And so was born the idea to make herbsicles—yummy fruit pops spiked with the flavors and benefits of fresh-picked and brewed herbs.
I’m hardly the first to dream up herbal popsicles. You can find endless recipes for amazing flavor combinations online, and as summer continues to heat things up keep an eye out for herbal pops in your local communities, apothecaries and natural groceries.
One of our guest teachers at herb school, an Austin herbalist with a focus on curanderismo and other forms of traditional healing, has gone so far as to devise of a bicycle paleta cart, similar to the push-cart ice cream vendors you may have seen in Latino countries or neighborhoods—except on the back of her bike. Pure genius! Some of her flavors made me drool instantly—tamarind honey-lime melon? Balsamic berry? Rose lemonade with fresh flower petals?! Be still, my herb-nerd heart.
As for me, my first foray into herbal popsicles yielded such winning combos as watermelon-loquat-mint (So light! So yummy!) and two others that you can try yourself in the Recipes channel, Pineapple Ginger Lime With Serrano, a sweet-and-spicy treat made with raw Mexican piloncillo, and Peach Cucumber With Lemongrass.
I added cleavers to the latter, which gave it an extra-nutritious boost—I encourage you to do the same if you happen to have some around, but since they’re out of season now and hard to find by conventional standards, I left them out of the recipe.
Once you make a batch of herbsicles, I dare you not to get excited about experimenting with your own combinations. Try adding greens, teas, flax meal, bee pollen, maca powder, and other healthful goodies to increase their healing power—keep your mind on great flavor with juicy fresh fruits, infused honey, and, of course, organic herbs grown with love.
Stay cool and nurture your health with lip-licking sweet treats—that’s what being a gourmet herbalist is all about.