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A touch of imagination to pop in the freezer
By Li Anlan

When August turns into summer’s oven, your best friend in the kitchen is the refrigerator freezer. There are plenty of simple ways to provide you and your family with iced treats. This week, the staff of iDEAL Shanghai has gathered a few easy recipes to help you beat the heat. 

Coffee & Ice    

For caffeine junkies, iced coffee is a daily fix in the summer. You may have tried making it at home to save money but given up because of all the prepa- ration work.

But there is an easy way around that — coffee ice cubes.

Simply brew a few pots of your favorite coffee roast, then let the coffee cool to room temperature. If you like sugar in your coffee, add to taste when the coffee is still warm. Fill ice cube trays with the cooled liquid and pop them into the freeze compartment until they are solid. Then remove the cubes to a Ziploc bags for storage.

Every morning, put a handful of the coffee ice cubes into a glass and just add milk. Stir and enjoy.

Here’s a twist. While you have fresh coffee at hand, make a few coffee pop- sicles to serve after a summer meal. 


Iced coffee popsicles (makes six)


340 ml strong cold coffee
160 ml whole milk, or heavy cream if you prefer Sugar to taste


1. Pour the already sweetened milk or cream into plastic popsicle molds to one-third full. 

2. Put the lid on the mold and freeze until the milk or cream is solid.

3. Add sugar to the coffee until it’s dissolved, then pour the coffee into each mold and fill to the top. Put back in freeze again until solid. 

4. To remove popsicles from the mold, rinse under water and they should slide out easily. 

5. You can also mix the coffee, cream and sugar to make latte popsicles. 



Mint is a refreshing herb for summer. And it’s easy to grow in a pot on the patio.

With a special aroma and health benefits, mint can be used in various dishes and beverages, or as a bright garnish.

Here is a mint milk popsicle recipe that’s a good alternative to chocolate milk. You can also make mojito popsicles using rum, fresh mint and lime juice. Just shake the cocktail using your favorite recipe and pour the liquid into popsicle molds.


Mint milk popsicles (makes six)


3 sprigs of fresh mint 500ml milk
Sugar to taste
2 tsp Monin menthe verte


1. Remove the mint leaves from the stem and thoroughly rinse in water. 

2. In a saucepan, pour the milk into the mint leaves and bring to boil.

3. Stirring constantly, add sugar and simmer for 1 minute on low heat, pressing the leaves gently to release more of their essence.

4. Remove the pan from the heat, drain the mixture and discard the leaves. 

5. Cool completely and add some Monin menthe verte for brighter color and a cooler mint flavor.

6. Pour the mint milk into popsicle molds and freeze until solid. 


Frozen fruit treats

Some fruits can be frozen directly, becoming easy and healthy ice treats. Peel some ripe bananas, cut in half and skewer on sticks. Wrap in foil and put in the freezer for two hours.

The result? A cool, too-sweet treat that tastes like a cream popsicle.

To make a fancy version of frozen banana, melt some chocolate and dip the chilled bananas in it, then freeze again for a crunchy chocolate coat.

Frozen grapes are also delicious with their crunchy skins and a sorbet-like interiors. 

Peach yogurt popsicles (makes six)


2 ripe peaches 150 ml yogurt


1. Peel the peaches and remove the pits. 

2. Puree one peach in a blender and dice the other peach into small pieces.

3. Mix the peach puree, diced peach and yogurt well, and fill the molds.

4. Freeze overnight and serve. 


The foil trick

When making popsicles for a group or as gift, you may want to use wooden sticks instead of the plastic ones that come with the mold. The trick to fixing the sticks in the middle of the popsicle is to cover the mold tightly with foil, then poke the sticks through. 

Ice cubes

Whoever thought plain ice cubes could be fun and decorative, with a minimum of effort?

Layer some fresh mint leaves with lemon, kiwifruit, mandarin or any fruit you want
in an ice cube tray with larger and deeper slots. Arrange the ingredients in different combinations, then fill the trays with water and freeze overnight.

These ice cubes are lightly flavored and perfect for serving in beverages, especially at parties.

Fresh edible flowers can also be frozen into ice cubes, but they are for decorative purposes only. They do provide a dreamy, romantic touch when used as ice in a champagne bucket.

Cut a seedless watermelon into cubes and freeze until hard. The cubes can be popped into glasses of water or soda to provide a fresh melon flavor.

Other fruits like pomegranates, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries can also go into ice cube trays and then into spritzers.

Since using plain ice cubes can dilute a drink, you may want to freeze drink juices as well into ice cubes. 


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