I love the Fourth of July: fireworks, parades, barbecues and apple pie contests. I love it all, and do my best to prepare special and celebratory picnics for the day. As Nourished Kitchen’s meal plan subscribers know, this week we’re hosting a barbecue with grass-fed beef burgers seasoned with onion and served with homemade ketchup, baked beans, a green salad with homemade ranch dressing with icy cold slices of watermelon. And in the evening, after the firefighters’ pancake breakfast, the parade, a water fight and outdoor concert, we’ll make our way to the park for fireworks and I’ll pull out these tricolored popsicles to finish the day.
It’s nice to know that, among the brimming pots of kettle corn, corn dogs and funnel cakes that typically worm their way into the holiday’s celebration, you can find true nourishment in the form of a special treat. Two layers of raspberry purée is separated by a layer of milk kefir dotted by blueberries, for a treat that is packed with nourishment: vitamins, food enzymes, beneficial bacteria, healthy fats and antioxidants.
Popsicles like this tricolored version for the Fourth of July and this version of homemade creamsicles are favorites among children. Especially among children who consume a nourishing diet that restricts the consumption of processed foods, the inclusion of brightly colored treats like this one help to offer a sense of dietary normalcy. While parents, like me, who avoid artificial flavors and colors can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the bright colors come from real food as opposed to artificial colorings. If you wish to avoid the endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in many plastic popsicle molds, consider purchasing stainless steel molds (find them here). While more expensive than their plastic counterparts, they are also sturdier.
Berries are abundant in summer, sweet and bright in flavor. They freeze well, so if you can find them cheaply at farmers markets during the peak of their season, buy them by the case and stock up for winter. All berries, but blueberries and raspberries in particular, are consider powerfully anti-inflammatory foods and boast an ORAC value of 4,669 to 5,065. The ORAC value rates an individual food’s oxygen radical absorbance capacity, and is a way to estimate the antioxidant capacity of an individual food. You can learn more about ORAC values here. Interestingly, the effects of berries on health extend to cognitive function and improved memory as the brain ages.
Much of the benefit to berries rests in their high level of anthocyanins which are also found in abundance in beets and many other red- or blue-hued fruits and vegetables. These naturally occurring phytonutrients may also provide protective effects against cancer, diabetes, neurological diseases and overall inflammatory disorders.
Benefits of Milk Kefir
Milk kefir is a cultured dairy food, much like yogurt. Like yogurt, milk kefir is rich in beneficial bacteria and food enzymes. It is also rich in a unique nutrient called kefiran which may account for many of its benefits. Cultured dairy products, like milk kefir, have been linked to a reduction in the risk of cancers of the bladder, breast and colon. Milk kefir may also prove beneficial not only for achieving and maintaining digestive wellness, but also in the recovery of food borne illness. You can learn more about its benefits and how to prepare milk kefir here.
- 1 lb raspberries
- up to ¼ cup honey, (divided)
- 1 tbsp framboise or vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk kefir
- 2 heaping tbsp blueberries
- Puree raspberries with two tablespoons honey and one tablespoon frambroise or vanilla extract in a food processor or blender, processing until smooth. Strain the raspberry puree through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth. Pour half of the strained raspberry puree into your molds, and reserve the remaining puree for the final layer of your popsicles. Freeze popsicles for two to four hours until firm, then prepare the middle layer of kefir
- Whisk two tablespoons honey into one cup milk kefir until well-combined. Remove the single-layered popsicles from the freezer and prepare the middle layer by evenly distributing the sweetened kefir into a single layer in the popsicles. Once the milk kefir is exhausted, gently push blueberries into the layer of milk kefir and place the popsicles back into the freezer. Freeze popsicles for two to four hours before preparing the final layer.
- After the layer of milk kefir has frozen solid, pour the remaining raspberry puree evenly among the popsicles, and return them to the freezer until all layers are set.