This question is part of the Organic Homemade Popsicle Q&A series.
As I pointed out in two previous posts (see below) sugarless ice pops don’t freeze or taste as good as ice pops made with some sort of sweetener. A sugarless pop is often akin to plain old ice – i.e. hard and flavorless.
- How come my Popsicles are as hard as rocks?
- Why do my ice pops taste so watery – where’s the flavor?
Now even though you do want to use some sort of sweetener in your ice pops, you don’t have to use plain old granulated sugar and you don’t need a ton of sweetener. Freshly squeezed juices have natural sugars so they’re perfect to use. Honey, molasses, maple syrup, agave or nectar, while still sweeteners, can stand in for cane sugar too.
If you totally want to get rid of added sweeteners, try making whole fruit pops. Pureed fruit pops need less sugar than pops made with a liquid (like juice), because the texture of the fruit makes ice pops softer. For example, my organic watermelon ice pops contain only fresh fruit and water and they have a wonderfully soft and flaky texture – no added sweetener at all. However, note that the sweeter the fruit, the softer the pop. For example, pureed pears or apples won’t be quite as soft when frozen as watermelon, blackberries or citrus.
If you start with a softer, creamier base like tofu or yogurt, often you can add less sweeteners than with normal ice pops. For example, such as with vanilla tofu pops or you can simply freeze yogurt plain in a mold. Some kids don’t love the taste of plain yogurt though.
Following are two more sugar-free or sweetener optional ice pop choices…
- Strawberry Pineapple Lime Raw Food Popsicles
- Chocolate Almond Butter Popsicles – include a wee bit of Stevia, but I’d bet you can eliminate it. These are gluten-free too.
Remember though, cutting sweeteners out entirely from liquid based pops will almost always result in rock hard, tasteless popsicles. Learn more about fresh organic pops in ice pops 101.
Image © Jennifer Chait