Strawberry plants grow all around the yard here, in many random spots where they have apparently been planted by birds. I generally prefer to let them grow unless they are directly in the way of something important, because I love random strawberries. Every June it is worth doing a daily morning check to look for spots of red, hoping that there will be enough at least for a snack (usually, yes). It isn’t the most efficient way to grow strawberries, but they are so superior in flavor to anything you can buy from a grocery, I think it is worth it to let them continue to live where they please. When I need more of the real thing, I pick them up from a farmstand, which I did to supplement my handful of home-grown strawberries for this recipe.
Because freshly-picked strawberries are softer and sweeter than the varieties that you typically find in a grocery store, they also work really well in these pops. They do not turn into fruit rocks when frozen, and they are sweet enough that you don’t need a lot of added honey in the chocolate base.
If you don’t have access to home grown or farmstand berries, I would suggest two changes for using grocery-store berries: first, cut the berries into smaller pieces (and try to buy smaller berries, because they are usually softer), and also increase the honey by a tablespoon or two to make up for the reduced sweetness of the berries. Note that if you are tasting the unfrozen base to see if it is sweet enough, you should account for the fact that freezing dulls sweetness levels–so it won’t taste as sweet coming out of the freezer as it did going in.
These make a perfect summer dessert or snack, and the banana helps keep the texture creamy even when they are right out of the freezer. If you have some great strawberries, here’s another fun way to use them in season.
Chocolate-covered Strawberry Pops
- 1 can of full-fat coconut milk
- 1 large, ripe banana
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
- Place the coconut milk, banana, vanilla, honey, and cocoa powder in a blender. Blend until very smooth.
- Add berry slices to each of the molds you are using for the popsicles. If you don't have popsicle molds, you can use small paper cups for these. I used a Norpro mold that makes 10, 3-ounce pops.
- Pour the cocoa mix slowly into the molds so it will settle around the berries. Gently tap the molds on the counter to fill in air pockets, and top with more cocoa mixture until your molds are almost full (the mixture will expand as it freezes, so leave a little room at the top). Insert wooden sticks (the strawberries should keep them in place) and freeze overnight, or until frozen through.