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 akin to plain old ice – way too hard and flavorless for an ice pop.
- How come my Popsicles are as hard as rocks?
- Why do my ice pops taste so watery – where’s the flavor?
That said, 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 can stand in for sugar too. Of course, alternatives don’t eliminate added sweeteners.
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 pure 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. Note though 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. You can actually simply freeze yogurt plain in a mold. Note that 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.
That said, remember, cutting out sweeteners entirely from liquid based pops will result in rock hard, usually tasteless popsicles. Learn more about fresh organic pops in ice pops 101.