Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Had a Popsicle yet this summer?

By Niki Turner

It's hot here in western Colorado, and that whole "it's a dry heat" thing doesn't really make it any easier to endure. Hot is, well, hot, and we don't have AC or a swamp cooler. So, in search of a brief respite, Popsicles (aka ice pops and freezer pops in the USA) ice lollies (England), freeze pops (Ireland), icy poles (New Zealand) or ice blocks (parts of Australia) are the summertime treat of choice for everyone from the smallest grandbaby to the oldest in the household. (Oh, dear, that would be me.)

Popsicle photo: Popsicle popsicle.jpg 

Popsicles, to my surprise, are much older than I thought.
The story goes that on a chilly San Francisco evening back in 1905, an 11-year-old boy named Frank Epperson was making himself a soft drink, using a cup and a stirring stick to blend a powdered mix with water. Somehow he got distracted and left the concoction on his front porch overnight. In the morning, he discovered the drink had frozen with the stick inside, making a handle of sorts. Eureka!
Amazingly, by the time it occurred to Frank as an adult that such frozen treats might be marketable, no one else had thought of (or stolen) his idea yet. He patented “frozen ice on a stick” in 1923 and started making what he called “Eppsicles” and his children soon termed “Popsicles.” A year or two later, Epperson sold his patent to the Joe Lowe Co. The nickel-priced novelties soon took off like wildfire. (Well, really cold wildfire.) These days, the brand name is owned by Unilever, but most of us refer to all ice-on-a-stick as “popsicles,” the way we call all tissues “kleenex.”

Read more: http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/food/2010/07/a-brief-history-of-popsicles/#ixzz2ZpNRiF9A Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter
I had no idea Popsicles were almost a century old, did you?

Do you remember your first Popsicle? I don't, but I do remember watching this PSA every Saturday morning and wondering what on earth pomegranate juice was.

Seriously, who knew anything about pomegranate juice in the '70s and '80s?

I never made my own Popsicles, because for some strange reason, we never had plastic wrap OR toothpicks at our house. Today, we have both... but I still don't make my own Popsicles. "Otter Pops" (something else I never had as a child) are the frozen treat of choice. Why? They are cheap, plentiful, and tasty. (And low-calorie, but we don't mention that in our male-dominated household.)

FYI, "bomb pops" came to be in 1955 (perhaps the fruit of the Cold War, no pun intended.) and are still a favorite for many.

There's an interesting Bible verse in Proverbs 25:13 (The Message):
Reliable friends who do what they say are like cool drinks in sweltering heat—refreshing!
I call those Popsicle friends, and they are few and far between. It's my heart's desire to BE one of those folks when my own friends are in hot water, when the pressures of life are heating up around them, to be the one who brings refreshing, who brings life. How about you? How can we refresh one another when life is hot and dry and miserable?

For the rest of you: Did you ever make your own ice pops? What's the best recipe?

For you history buffs: What treats did folks cool off with before the Popsicle?


  1. I found some tupperware popsicle molds at a yard sale when my oldest was really little. I think I paid $0.50 for them. They are plastic with lids and sticks. We'd fill them with Koolaid in the summer. (You can also make them in paper cups with sticks -- but a 50 cent mold set is still cheaper!)

    You can get creative and fill the molds half with one color, freeze, and fill the rest of the way with another color.

    So what is a swamp cooler? Just curious. We live in the swamp, and there is nothing cool about humidity in the summer!

  2. My best friend's mom was a Tupperware lady and they had some of those molds. They're kind of hard to find these days!

    A swamp cooler, aka "evaporative cooler," cools the house by blowing air through/over water. It also makes it a bit "swampy" but when the humidity is less than 10% that's not a bad thing! Too funny, we have swamp coolers, you have dehumidifiers!

  3. Niki, I don't think I can imagine what less than 10% humidity feels like! I just checked, and we're currently at 72% -- at noon.

    When we lived in the DC area, the one radio station had what they called "humidity clause" days -- temp had to be 90 or more, and temp + humidity had to equal 150. (Any combination meeting those requirements results in heat index of 100 or more.)

    I just remind myself that humidity keeps my complexion young looking. Don't know if it's true, but it makes me feel better on hot, humid days...

  4. I don't think we get to 72% when it's RAINING! :) I'm looking forward to enjoying the humidity during this trip to NYC. Strange, I know, but I sometimes it's just nice to NOT need to be coated with moisturizer, Chapstick, and conditioner.

  5. I learned my lesson about humidity when I was in Arizona in August one year and heard everyone complaining about the humidity. It was 'monsoon season' after all. the humidity had sky rocked up to 39%!!!
    I don't think we notice it unless it's over 70%!

    I made popsicles as a child with one or another form (this was back when koolaid was a daily drink - gotta love those red dyes of the 60s!) and then I had the real tupperware ones when my kids were young. I like the pureed fruit kind now, but they are still a rarity, as my Gchildren are relatively corn syrup free.

    Niki - the weather is lovely this week! come on over!

  6. Yum. The pureed fruit ones are delish. I'm personally a fudgesicle fan, but I rarely buy them because they disappear too quickly.

    Yay! I'm hoping to avoid a NY heat wave!

  7. Very cool, Niki. No, I don't remember my first popsicle, but I do remember chasing down the ice cream man during the summer before we moved to Japan, so I had to be five. My favorite popsicles are root beer.


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