RECIPES: These fruit-based ice pops are a delicious way to cool off

Use purees of fruit, cream, yogurt or simply juice and herbs to make these pretty homemade popsicles. (The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS/Jamila Robinson)

Technically, we aren't supposed to call them "popsicles." That's a registered trademark. But ice pops, creamy pops made with milk or yogurt, and other fruity desserts-on-a-stick are having a moment. You might be seeing them pop up on your Instagram feed, in bright colors, made with orange and mango and filled with pieces of fruit.

Because pops are versatile and easy to make, it's worth it to try them at home, says baking and dessert blogger Vallery Lomas.

You need only fruit juice, or iced tea, and whatever fresh or frozen fruit you have on hand. You can add milk, cream, chocolate or even the last of that swig of St. Germain or bourbon if that's what it takes to cool off.

Earlier this summer Lomas posted an Instagram video class for her blueberry, Greek yogurt, and coconut milk pops.

"I started making popsicles because I lived in an apartment with no air-conditioning," Lomas said. "I like them for a summertime breakfast or snack because I can control what's in it. I get good fat from the yogurt and it keeps me full."

Chocolate, blueberry with greek yogurt, peach raspberry, lemon-lime, mango orange and strawberry-raspberry ice pops. (The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS/Jamila Robinson)
Chocolate, blueberry with greek yogurt, peach raspberry, lemon-lime, mango orange and strawberry-raspberry ice pops. (The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS/Jamila Robinson)

Ice pops also a make a good cooking project for kids, allowing them to combine fruits, even though freezing and unmolding time do require a bit of patience.

Pops are also great for serving at a social distance. Just grab a stick and keep it moving.

Here are some tips for making your own pops:

Molds: You can find ice pop molds at home goods stores for about $13. To remove the pops from the molds, run hot water over the mold just until the pop releases. Once the pops are removed, return them to the freezer briefly to set.

Storage: Don't store the pops in the molds because you'll have a hard time removing them. Instead, put them in zipper bags where they will keep about two weeks.

Instagram-worthy pops: Get your pops ready for social posts by adding extra fruit or even edible flowers to the mold before pouring in the liquid. Lomas says you can make pops pretty by giving them a garden atmosphere using lavender sprigs or lemon thyme leaves. "If I was having a socially distant backyard party, I would serve beautiful popsicles," she said.

Fruit pops: You'll need about 2 cups of fresh or frozen fruit, ¼ cup of orange or apple juice and 2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar, honey or other sweetener. Puree the ingredients in a blender, then pour into molds. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to preserve the color of peaches and mango.

Creamy pops: A cup of Greek yogurt and ¼ cup of milk can serve as the base for creamy pops. Feel free to use coconut water, soy, or almond milk. You can add whole fruit to this base, or put all the ingredients into a blender and puree, then pour into molds.

Layered pops: Let each layer of fruit puree or creamy pop mixture set in the freezer for at least 20 minutes before adding the next flavor. Be sure to keep other purees refrigerated while layers are setting.

Blueberry-Coconut Greek Yogurt Pops

1 ½ cups Greek yogurt

¾ cup full fat coconut milk

4 tablespoons granulated sugar OR honey, to taste, divided use

1 ½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries

In a large bowl, combine the Greek yogurt with the coconut milk and 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons of sugar or honey. Stir vigorously until you have a smooth consistency. Taste and add more sweetener, if desired. Set aside.

Make the blueberry sauce by combining the blueberries with the remaining 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar or honey in a small pot. Cook over medium heat until the blueberries start to break down. Stir and continue cooking until it reaches a jamlike consistency. Remove from heat.

Place a tablespoon of the yogurt mixture in each mold. Add a tablespoon of blueberry sauce. Top with another tablespoon of the yogurt. Continue alternating until the mold is nearly full. Place the top on the mold and add the sticks. Freeze for six hours.

Once the ice pops are completely frozen, place the mold under running water so that they will loosen. Remove and enjoy immediately, or place in the freezer in an air-tight container with parchment paper dividing each row. These are an easy grab-and-go breakfast for summer, or a cool treat for any time of day.

Makes about 10 pops.

Recipe courtesy of Vallery Lomas;

Drop lemons and limes into the molds for these homemade popsicles. (The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS)
Drop lemons and limes into the molds for these homemade popsicles. (The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS)

This ice pop recipe can be adapted for any fruit you have on hand. You can also add lime or coconut. For pretty pops, drop thin slices of lemon and lime into the mold before adding liquid.

Lemon Ice Pops

¾ cup sugar OR ½ cup honey

½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Zest of 2 lemons

Using a saucepan, dissolve sugar into 1 cup water, stirring continuously. Add juice and zest and bring to a simmer. Remove mixture from heat and allow to cool. Taste and adjust sweetener, if needed.

Pour lemon mixture into molds, add sticks and freeze for 6 hours.

Makes about 10 pops.

Any fruit you have on hand can be made into a creamy pop. For a mocha version, replace fruit with 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of espresso powder. For a refreshing floral pop, use honey and replace fruit with a pinch of culinary lavender.

Strawberry Cream Pops

2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered

1 cup Greek yogurt

½ cup whole, coconut, soy, or almond milk

¼ cup sugar or honey (to taste)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Using a blender, puree all ingredients until smooth, scraping down sides, if necessary. Taste and adjust sweetener.

Pour mixture into ice pop molds, add sticks, and freeze for 6 hours.

Makes about 10 pops.