MAKE YOUR OWN SWEET SUMMER MEMORIES
STORY AND RECIPE BY JENNIFER CARDEN • PHOTOS BY MAT THEW CARDEN
The ice cream man makes his way down our street near Old Town Novato every day starting in April. The familiar tunes puffing loudly out of the tinny speaker atop the ramshackle old truck waft right in through our front door.
The sights and sounds never fail to evoke memories from my childhood, the whole neighborhood of kids running like a pack of dogs following that long ago ice cream man down the street. While waiting impatiently in line, we were always looking to see if there were any new frozen treats on board. Fresh stickers depicting the new items on offer were haphazardly stuck over the old stickers on the side of the truck. Usually it was the same old stuff: the red, white and blue bomb pop, the giant ice cream sandwich or the blue one shaped like a foot with the gumball for the toe. I’m not sure exactly why we wanted to eat ice cream shaped like a foot, but we did.
We’d eat our chosen confection while popping hot sticky tar bubbles in the blacktop with our feet. After everyone was done we’d jump in someone’s pool to clean off the sticky mess.
It definitely wasn’t good-quality ice cream, but some combination of the truck, the whole pack of kids and the heat made it the best part of a summer day.
If you are lucky enough to have an ice cream man who still visits your neighborhood, delivering happy childhood memories along with sweet treats, I say there’s no harm in indulging every once in a while, but creating your own frozen popsicles, along with sweet memories, is even better.
Making delicious naturally flavored and healthy pops isn’t difficult and kids enjoy them just as much as the overly sweet ones, often colored with artificial colors, found on most ice cream trucks—and at many grocery stores.
Melons hit their peak in summer, so grab a few and experiment with flavors and combinations.
How to choose a ripe melon:
Smell: Press into the top of the melon and smell. It should have a fairly strong fragrance.
Look: Your melon should be free of blemishes.
Weight: Your melon should feel heavy for its size. A heavier melon will be juicier.
You can use regular popsicle molds for these, but I love the new “fast freeze” systems found in many local kitchen stores or online. You can also use small paper cups and popsicle sticks.
Or, if you want to get especially crafty, you can make your own silicone popsicle molds like we did for the cover of this sixth anniversary issue of Edible Marin & Wine Country!
Jennifer Carden is a mother, wife, chef, author and food stylist. She is dedicated to helping families get excited about food, and with her creative recipes she inspires kids and adults alike. Her latest book is the Little Pretty Baking Kit: Petite Cakes to Make and Give (Chronicle Books, 2013). Her blog is PlayfulPantry.wordpress.com/
SUMMER MELON FREEZER POPS
Yield: 8 standard-size popsicles
1/2 large cantaloupe (about 4 cups), or other ripe, in season melon, peeled, seeded and cubed
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cubed
1/2 cup honey
6–10 fresh mint leaves
Combine all ingredients in a blender, blending until there are no lumps.
Pour into molds and freeze.