An icy paleta is a welcome relief from our sizzling summers. These colorful ice pops are sold throughout Mexico in specialized shops called paleterias or from sidewalk pushcarts. Here in Austin, we now have access to several traditional paleta makers and creative upstarts experimenting with their own inventive flavors.
But what distinguishes a paleta from a humdrum frozen pop? Most are made from scratch using fresh ingredients. Paletas are usually available in a captivating rainbow of colors and flavors that represent the vast selection of ingredients available throughout Mexico. The treats are usually fruit-based, but they also can be scented with flower petals or herbs, flavored with pecans or coconut, or spiced with chile.
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There are countless varieties of frozen pop makers, but most paletas are made using standard 2.5 ounce plastic molds. Using a pitcher or another container with a spout will help prevent spills when filling the molds. Remember that the liquid mixture will expand upon freezing, so leave some space in the top of the mold to account for this. Paletas are best consumed within two weeks of making them.
Mom & Pops Lemony Lavender Paletas
3 cups water
1/2 cup culinary lavender
1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 8 lemons)
1 1/2 cups sugar (more or less if preferred)
In a small pot bring 3 cups of water to a boil.
Add the lavender, turn off the heat, and let the lavender steep for at least 15 minutes (longer is usually better).
Once the lavender tea has cooled, add the fresh squeezed lemon juice and the sugar. Stir thoroughly until sugar is dissolved.
Pour into molds and place in freezer until fully frozen. Makes 12 to 16 pops.
The Popcycle’s Roasted Plum and Ginger Paletas
For ginger simple syrup:
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup ginger slices
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 lbs. red plums
1 1/2 cups ginger syrup
4 limes juiced
1/2 cup organic sugar
3 cups filtered water
2 pinches sea salt
To make the ginger infused simple syrup, peel and roughly chop fresh ginger.
Combine the ginger with 1 1/2 cups of water and 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally for two minutes.
Remove from the heat and let steep for 15 minutes or up to an hour (depending how strong you would like the ginger flavor to be).
Remove the ginger from the syrup and set aside a one-inch piece. Discard the rest.
To make the paletas, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the plums in half and place on a baking sheet. Roast them in the oven for 25 minutes.
After the plums are cool enough to handle, remove the pits and place all of the plums (skin included) and their juices into a blender.
Add the ginger syrup, juice of 4 limes, 1/2 cup organic sugar, the reserved 1 inch piece of ginger, water, and sea salt and blend until fully combined. Chill mixture for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
When mixture is cool, pour into molds and freeze for 6-8 hours or until fully frozen. Makes 12 to 16 paletas.
GoodPop’s Strawberry Lemonade Pops
2 cups fresh strawberries
6 medium lemons
2 cups filtered water
1/3 cup organic cane sugar or 1/3 cup of honey (can adjust up or down to desired sweetness level)
Cut stems off of strawberries and slice into quarters.
Slice lemons and squeeze fresh lemon juice into a cup.
Stir organic cane sugar into filtered water until sugar dissolves.
Combine strawberries, lemon juice and water/sugar mixture into a blender.
Puree until smooth, or leave small strawberry chunks in if desired.
Pour into standard pop molds, place in freezer and let freeze for at least five hours. Makes 12-16 frozen pops.