Summer on a Stick

After obsessing for several months over this kitchen gadget, I finally purchased a Zoku. The Zoku is a popsicle maker that works in about 10 minutes. Yeah. It really works.

You put it in the freezer, and then you can pour in any kind of popsicle ingredients, like juice, or yogurt, or pudding.   It freezes the stuff right there on your kitchen table!  There are exceptions and warnings — no nutrasweet, nothing too thick, no water, etc.

Since I am facing years of summer vacay with my two boys, I figured this would be more of an activity than simply a cooking gadget, and so far, it has earned winning reviews from my 3-year-old. We can actually watch the popsicle freezing. I use a flashlight over the holes so we can see the ice crystals forming.

The box shows many beautiful ideas, like watermelon popsicle (with seeds! and rind!). Boy Boy pointed out the rainbow popsicle and said he wanted that. I couldn’t find juice with that many different colors, like blue and green. So I used white grape juice, and added drops of food coloring.

So far, I have not been patient enough to get the layering just right. When I do, I’ll post a picture here. For now, my big splash was using canned strawberry nectar, with banana slices cut using the heart-shaped cookie cutter that comes in the tool package.

Also included is a siphon, for sucking out the middle so that a cream core can be poured in. There is also an angle tool. I’m eager to try all the different things, and so far, I’m very pleased with the Zoku.

On the other hand, I feel like I should warn you that the instructions are very, very specific. Working with super cold stuff has its pitfalls, so I would advise you to read the book before buying it. It can’t freeze certain things, like ice cream.

Oh — and speaking of recipes, there are two pages of popsicle recipes in the current issue of O. I know there was a past issue of Real Simple that has popsicle recipes, so I’m going to go digging for that on their website.

I had debated between the Zoku and the Cuisinart ice cream maker because ice cream is generally yummier than popsicles, but I really wanted to buy an experience for the kids, rather than just a machine that would make the stuff. I think the ice cream maker entails throwing in some ingredients and then letting the machine do the work, whereas the kids can plan and pour the popsicle. Carefully.

I promise to post more about this tool as I try more things.


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