Are you a sucker for a popsicle? I sure am. I miss the Mexican-style paletas sold at the long-gone but much-missed La Paleta on 24th Street near Mission, especially their cool, spicy cucumber-chile. While others swoon (and queue) for Bi-Rite Creamery's salted caramel scoops, my fellow pop lovers and I beat the line and bask in the park licking blackberry and blood-orange popsicles bought at the soft-serve window down the street. In my 1970s youth, purple and orange tongues dyed neon-bright by candy-sweet tubes of flavored ice pushed up through skinny plastic sleeves were a badge of summertime, just like sailors bracelets and terry cloth shorts. And even the dark-chocolate snob that I am would still grab a drippy Fudgsicle any hot summer day.
Popsicles are easy and cheap to make, and if you've got kids who slurp them down every summer afternoon, you can have a lot of fun making your own rather than running to the store for yet another box of plastic-wrapped storebought pops. They're also a great way to cool off and enjoy the bounty of summer fruit, especially the super-ripe stuff from the farmers market that comes home nearly deliquescing.
No need to turn on the oven or pull out the bikini-busting sugar, butter, and flour. No ice-cream maker required, just a little freezer space. You don't even have to buy wooden sticks or made-for-the-purpose popsicle molds, although they're easy to find and ever so cute. A few empty paper cups (or single-serving yogurt tubs), some leftover plastic spoons to double as sticks, and there you are! Ready for dessert time, snack time, hot afternoon pick-me-up time. In fact, the sooner they're eaten, the better, before textures get icy and flavors fade.
Popsicles are pretty, and pretty irresistible, as their appearance on a jillion Pinterest boards will attest. The more fruit, the better, which makes plum popsicles are a natural choice for this season, when ripe plums are dropping off backyard trees all over the Bay Area. And while a plain plum pop offers all the joys of a ripe plum, only chillier and without the pit, few pop makers can resist adding their own signature flavor boost.