Homemade Berry Popsicles (with a dash of math)

July 14, 2018

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Making popsicles at home is a simple and delicious project.  We use just two ingredients - fruit and apple cider - and three simple tools - a blender, a measuring cup, and a popsicle mold. 


If you have young kids, homemade popsicles can be an exciting summer project and a great alternative to store-bought treats that have all sorts of other ingredients.


Making popsicles also offers the opportunity to engage your kids in a little bit of undercover math exploration!  Just follow these simple steps (my conversation with my kids about the math and science we were doing is contained in the italics!).



1 Determine how much liquid your popsicle mold holds by filling one space with water, pouring the water into a measuring cup, and multiplying the result by the number of popsicle spaces in your mold.  


One popsicle space in our first mold holds 1/3 cup water, and the mold makes four popsicles, so our mold uses a total of 1 1/3 cups liquid, but we are missing one of our sticks so there are actually only three spaces to use so we only need one cup of liquid.  Our other mold has six spaces that hold 1/4 cup each.  So we need 1 1/2 cups liquid for that mold, which means we need ... (you got it?) 2 1/2 cups of liquid to fill both molds.




2 Use the same amount of berries as the amount of liquid your popsicle mold holds.  You can mix things up in whatever way you want - use all strawberries or use a mixture of berries.  We picked whatever was available in our garden, plus a few from a local farm, and ended up with strawberries, raspberries (three different colors!), and a small batch of blueberries.  Cut off any stems, and chop the strawberries in half if they are large.


So, we'll need 2 1/2 cups of berries.  We have about 1 1/2 cups of strawberries so we need to pour about 1 cup of raspberries on top of that.


3 Put your berries into the blender and puree them for about 1 minute.  As you probably know from your math and science classes growing up, we're coming into lesson on volume here.


Huh, look at that.  We started with 2 1/2 cups of berries when they were whole, but now that they are pureed in the food processor, we only have 1 1/2 cups.  What happened?  That's right, when the berries were whole there were spaces of air between (we call that interstitial space) them so they took up more space in the measuring cup.  Now that the berries are ground up into smaller pieces, they fall closer together and take up less space.


4 Add apple cider to the blender to bring the amount of liquid back up to the amount needed for your molds.  Blend again until everything is well incorporated.


OK, so we need to get back up to the 2 1/2 cups of liquid that we need for our molds.  How much apple cider do we have to add?  (Yup, one cup).





5 Now you have the choice to strain the liquid to remove seeds (or not) depending on your personal preference, then pour it into the molds, add your sticks or holders, and place it in the freezer.  


Hey, look at that, we have a little bit of liquid left over because we had just over 2 1/2 cups by the time we were done blending.  I wonder how that happened?  Yup, blending liquid with a fast blade actually added a little bit of air back in (like when you churn ice cream or whip egg whites for pancake batter) and caused the volume to go up just a little bit.  Guess we get to put that in a glass and try it out! :)



6 Freeze at least 4-6 hours (depending on the size of your molds) and ENJOY!







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